Is Milos Raonic A Wimbledon Dark Horse?

Despite the sheer dominance of the so-coined “Big Four” of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokvoic, Andy Murray, and Roger Federer throughout the last decad,e the realisation that their reign at the top must soon come to end never seems to be heeded by the young talent that is out there today. None of the promising players such as Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, and Kei Nishikori have stepped up to bid for a place among tennis’ elite. With Dimitrov in poor form and Nishikori’s game unsuited to grass is it the perfect opportunity for big-serving Milos Raonic to step up to the plate?

Raonic, now 24 years old, is ranked #8 in the world and had it not been for surgery on his foot he may well have been ranked higher for Wimbledon. Raonic only recently returned to action after missing the French Open because of the injury. However, it was a somewhat unsuccessful return losing out to Gilles Simon in the quarterfinal at Queen’s Club. Despite being a rather unsatisfactory Wimbledon preparation for the Canadian there are plenty of reasons to consider Raonic a serious dark horse.

Raonic has an ideal game for grass court tennis. He has arguably the best serve in men’s tennis today, regularly smashing aces. Raonic is also renowned for his fast hands which is a fundamental skill required for net play which is a rather common feature of tennis on grass. Raonic also possess the ability to hit huge ground-strokes and despite a somewhat questionable backhand, Raonic’s forehand is a huge weapon.

What sets Raonic apart from other big servers is that he has a more rounded game. Unlike other big servers such as John Isner and Ivo Karlovic, Raonic is not completely reliant on his serve. Yes it can be a tool to get the Canadian out of a tight spot on service games but Raonic is backed up by a solid ground-stroke ability which makes him very tough to beat. Players such as Andy Murray will surely dread the prospect of facing Raonic come Wimbledon. Murray’s second serve is a point of weakness which Raonic has the power on his returns to exploit. Someone such as Roger Federer, who is notorious for dealing with big servers, might fare better. Regardless, Raonic will certainly prove a mammoth test for anyone who faces him.

Raonic also backs his ability recently claiming he had the best serve in current men’s tennis. With the strong coaching team of Ivan Ljubicic and Riccardo Piatti behind him Raonic will almost certainly be well prepared for the huge task of Wimbledon. The extra week to Wimbledon may well prove a huge advantage to Raonic so he can fully heal the foot injury and have his mobility on point for one of tennis’ showpiece events. Raonic will be seeded 7th for Wimbledon and this could mean facing two time champion Rafael Nadal early on in the tournament, possibly as early as round four.

Raonic certainly appears to be one of the best underdogs at Wimbledon. His well-tuned grass court game possibly put him ahead of the likes of Kei Nishikori and even Stan Wawrinka in terms and chances of winning the tournament. Many would disagree strongly but there is hard evidence that Raonic has what it takes to go all the way. The question really isn’t is Milos Raonic a Wimbledon dark horse but rather can he prove his status as one of the dark horses and finally take his spot among the tennis elite? We will soon find out.

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