The debate has been raging ever since the 28-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic stepped foot on the hallowed All-England Club turf: can he become the first Canadian to lift the Wimbledon trophy?
Good Gosh, Milos (Raonic) is Fit and Well
A host of injuries haven’t help the likable Canadian giant Milos Raonic in his plight for a Slam, namely Wimbledon. A right knee injury is the cause of his most recent setback. The first tick in a box regarding the long list of Wimbledon preparations must be completing a match on grass this season. Then it would be winning one. In Stuttgart, Milos Raonic has done both, twice. He is now in the quarterfinals, something that must be classed a success no matter what happens now, given that he is returning from absence. It’s a long road and a big ask to make a real surge for the Wimbledon title this year. However, baby steps have been made and the signs are good.
Wimbledon Always a Target for Milos Raonic
The towering Canadian has maintained a plus win-loss record on grass since 2013. He finished 9-2 last year, including a run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, before succumbing in four sets to John Isner. Raonic was not 100% fit last grass season, either. That said, none of his eight titles have been on that surface. In truth, even though he is going well in Stuttgart, he won’t be bothered if he only wins one grass court title, as long as it’s Wimbledon. The 2016 Wimbledon finalist has enough of a grass court pedigree to know that expectations are high on him going into each Wimbledon tournament.
Novak Djokovic and Queens 2018 aside, players who win the warm-up tournaments don’t tend to do great at Wimbledon, historically. For Raonic the warm-up tournaments are just that, you would think, to gain fitness and match sharpness. Raonic, in Stuttgart, looks in the kind of shape and mindset to do himself justice at the penultimate Slam of the season.
The Tough Popyrin & Tsonga Tests in Stuttgart are Just What the Doctor Ordered for Raonic
19-year-old qualifier, World #103, Alexei Popyrin pushed Milos Raonic close in the Stuttgart first round and the Canadian showed some rustiness. Raonic prevailed 6-7 6-4 7-6, although he took time to get into his stride and the pace of the game, he came through against an improving opponent. His 31 aces were more than he achieved in any single match in reaching the final in Stuttgart last year. In fact, he didn’t hit over 30 aces in a match on grass until Wimbledon. The ace count dropped to 24 against Tsonga in his 6-4 6-7 7-6 triumph, but conditions were trickier. Earlier signs are that Raonic’s serving power, if anything, is on the rise. A 40+ aces match at Wimbledon would not be out of the question at this rate. Marton Fucsovics awaits Raonic in quarterfinals, and the Canadian beat the Hungarian in Stuttgart last season.
Milos Raonic Ready to Grind his Way to and Through Wimbledon
Raonic is showing early on that he still has the mental toughness to hang in there and grind out epic victories. This will stand him in good stead for the All-England club. There is still no male Slam holder under the age of 30. With Wimbledon being the next one, Raonic must be high on the list of under 30s capable of breaking this trend.
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