• Air Miles Raonic hopes to keep flying high

    2/15/11 4:48 PM | Johan Lindahl
    Air Miles Raonic hopes to keep flying high Canadian sensation Milos Raonic will have some family support in the stands when last week's San Jose champion bids to stretch his current win streak to six matches at the indoor event in Memphis.

    Father Dusan will continues on the road trip with his 20-year-old son - new ATP ranking 59th - while his sister Jelena is arriving as well.

    But Raonic had to withdraw from doubles with Andy Roddick, figuring that he might not be ready for a first-round match after his exertions in lifting his career-first trophy in California. It's all about frequent flier points for the well-travelled Canadian, who has played on four continents - Asia, Australia, Africa and North America so far in the first six weeks of the season. His travels will continues next week in Acapulco on clay followed by a Davis Cup date for Canada.

    Raonic chose to take a red-eye from San Jose to Memphis for this week's event. "To tell you the truth, everything happened so fast night. I sort of haven't completely soaked up what happened, haven't completely grasped it," he told Canadian media.

    Raonic and his Spanish coach Galo Blanco think they are onto a good thing with the big-hitting youngster whom some are already comparing to Pete Sampras for his huge serve and his calm demeanour. "I feel like I'm playing at a good level and I'm playing well. I don't think it's something you have and lose the next day. I think it's something you keep," said Raonic. "But now's not the time to be dwelling on the win. I have another match to prepare for. When I have a bit of time off I can appreciate the moment more, and sort of build on that."

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Good attitude and focus kid. Every great athlete doesn't stop to dwell on yesterday's achievements, but continues on the path to greatness. Verdasco will be fighting very hard to revenge on Milos as he doesn't want to be shamed by losing to a kid twice in one week as a top-10 player.

jngannex , 2/16/11 4:04 AM

'some are already comparing to Pete Sampras'
- I think that the ability to write online is too gratuitous sometimes.
Personally I couldn't stand watching Sampras play... I hope Raonic can add more to his game.

Shireling , 2/16/11 12:01 PM

"Personally I couldn't stand watching Sampras play... I hope Raonic can add more to his game."

Er... what? Sampras was easily the most complete player in an era of deader racquets and strings. Granted, he won a lot of points solely on serve, but serving that accurately is in itself a skill. His aces on the second serve (against Agassi, no less) were the type of thing today's payers can only dream about.

If Raonic can even be half the player Sampras was, it would be a great achievement. I personally feel he has loads of potential.

samprallica , 2/16/11 1:06 PM

I think Raonic's serves won't be as lethal as Sampras', as today's surfaces are much slower than in Sampras' era. I see more players able to return Raonic's serves even if he can reach Sampras level one day. Raonic doesn't have a complete game yet, so can't compare him to Sampras.

luckystar , 2/16/11 1:20 PM

wasn't philippousis compared to sampras too, and look what happened to him?

homos , 2/16/11 2:06 PM

It's too early to be comparing young Milos to Pete. I will say that his demeanor seems similar....but talk to me after he's won a couple of slams.

cherylmurray , 2/16/11 2:26 PM

This is off topic, but Andy Murray has withdrawn from Dubai due to a wrist injury.

nadline , 2/16/11 2:47 PM

oh gosh not again! no end to his problems..

homos , 2/16/11 3:03 PM

It is a lot easier to get more complete these days than it used to be with equipment developments, but to serve like Pete did is very hard to emulate. Second serve aces right in the corner at 3-3 in a fourth set tiebreak requires a perfect technique, and a lot of guts.

Like I said, Milos has the potential - but emulating Sampras would mean more game, more athleticism and a ton of guts. Since he hasn't reached his physical or mental peaks respectively, and since he's only been noticed for two months in the singles arena - let's see what happens.

samprallica , 2/16/11 3:08 PM

What happen to Murray? Wrist again? Wrist problems, like knee problems, keep recurring. Very troublesome and need proper care and management. Poor Murray, he is getting to be like Rafa now, injury problem almost annually!

luckystar , 2/16/11 4:10 PM

It's too early to be comparing young Milos to Pete. I will say that his demeanor seems similar....but talk to me after he's won a couple of slams.
, 2/16/11 2:26 PM

You'll have to forgive some here for the premature comparisons. Many are pretty tired of the same players winning and dominating for so long. It's really a hope to see some new blood coming on the scene for my part at least. I think Milos is going to be great also.

numero , 2/16/11 6:42 PM

^^^understandable, numero...but we ARE talking Pete Sampras.

I like Milos...actually I've been teased a bit BECAUSE I like him, but it takes more than just a big serve to be like Pete. Samprallica has a good point - Pete had nerves of steel.

I hope Milos proves to be great. The sport needs breadth and depth...but it's just too early to tell.

cherylmurray , 2/16/11 7:25 PM

I agree with cheryl's comments about this young Milos. Everyone starts comparing him to one of the truly great players like Sampras, which is premature as far as I am concerned. Sampras was more than a big serve. I think it's great to see some new faces, but let's talk after he has done something at the slams.

Nativenewyorker , 2/16/11 9:33 PM

Some people are so keen to see the current duopoly toppled that they see Sampras and Federer is some or other new player, thankfully, there is no new Rafa, and I don't think there ever will be, because he is a one off, the mould was smashed after he was made, and whether there is a new Federer or not, a Federer cannot handle Rafa, so Rafa will still reign supreme.

nadline , 2/16/11 9:51 PM

another game for milos :). isn't he a bit tall and heavy to be a future 3,2 or 1?

rfzr , 2/17/11 1:45 AM

@Nativenewyorker , 2/16/11 9:33 PM, @cherylmurray , 2/16/11 7:25 PM

Finally, people acknowledging that Pete was more than a big serve.

Interesting point made by rfzr about Milos's height - he has to break the 5'11" - 6'2" general trend. The three most successful players since the 90s (I rate Nadal's success greater than Agassi's) have all been 6'1".

samprallica , 2/17/11 3:38 AM

And Raonic beats Verdasco for the second time in four days. He is now in 'nando's head.

yudude , 2/17/11 4:25 AM

Raonic beats again verdasco ... i like ir :)

I want him to be in top16 before RG so he wouldn't have to face any top player before R16 ..i know very big task but it is he who forced us to be optimistic!!

mani4Tennis , 2/17/11 5:50 AM

Top 16 before RG? You think possible? Please show some respect for those guys in the top 20. Beating a head case Verdasco doesn't mean he can beat the rest of the top twenty guys. Mind you, had Verdasco won the first set tie break in San Jose and won that match, we won't be talking about Raonic into top 16 here. Please be more realistic, can't stand all these hypes. Don't count the chicken before they're hatched.

luckystar , 2/17/11 6:27 AM

Some people are really getting a bit carried away with this kid Raonic. To even discuss him being in the top16 before RG, is quite disrespectful to the other top players who currently occupy those spots. I am confident that these guys have no intention of laying down for Raonic and just letting him roll over them.

We have to remember that these are smaller tournaments, in which there is much less competition. There is a reason why Verdasco has fallen out of the top ten. It's because he has never been able to regain the great form he showed at the 2009 AO semis in his match with Rafa. He has been extremely inconsistent in the last year with a horrendous tendency to double fault all over the place. He does not have anything like the mental strength and awareness of Rafa.

If some are looking at him as the great hope to beat Rafa at RG, then they are forgetting a number of other established players who have a shot there. The hype is getting out of control.

Nativenewyorker , 2/17/11 7:37 AM

If some are looking at him as the great hope to beat Rafa at RG, then they are forgetting a number of other established players who have a shot there. The hype is getting out of control.

, 2/17/11 7:37 AM

Now I understand why all the negativity towards Milos here. Some Rafans perceive him to be a threat to Rafa. How petty. He has a long way to go to think about beating Rafa at the French Open. Talk about paranoid. I don't think anybody believes the kid will win that. We're optimistic about a young guy who's playing well, that's it. Nobody thinks he'll win RG so relax and try to show the young man some respect.

numero , 2/17/11 1:40 PM

luckystar , 2/17/11 2:04 PM

Lucky, why all the hate toward Milos? The "hype" is there, not because, anyone thinks he will start beating a great champion like Rafa, but because since the beginning of the year he has risen approx. 100 ranking points and continues to rise; (and the fact that Canada hasn't had anyone near his talent in forever).
He does have a new weapon, his serve, which is pretty impressive. He obviously has plenty to learn and seems to want to put in the hard work.
Both Rafa and Ferrer said the same thing about him ... he will be in the top ten.
Sure we will have to wait and see ... but there is no reason not to be happy for him for this brief period of glory.

smr , 2/17/11 2:37 PM

luckystar, you have the patience of a saint :)

homos , 2/17/11 2:43 PM

smr, what hatred are you talking about? Go read my comments on other threads, I did mention about Rafa speaking highly of him. Please read properly what I've posted, Im fed up with people here hyping up Raonic, I've nothing against Raonic as a player. In fact I did mention that he seem a pleasant young man, in my other earlier post on another thread. Please do not jump into any conclusion if you happen not to read and understand my posts properly!

luckystar , 2/17/11 2:53 PM

Lucky, you should maybe re-read some of your last posts re: Raonic.

smr , 2/17/11 3:02 PM

smr what's wrong with my last post about Raonic? I mentioned about Nishikori, and what happened to him, to remind some here not to predict big things too soon. Anything wrong? What I've posted was against those who hyped up Raonic, NOT Anyhing Against Raonic. You seem don't know how to read and understand. Please see someone's post further up, about hoping Raonic to get to top sixteen before RG, my response to that person: be realistic. Again, anything wrong? Seriously, smr, do you think Raonic will get to top 16 before RG? Again that's nothing against Raonic, but the person that hyped him up. Understand?

luckystar , 2/17/11 3:07 PM

Lucky, I'm just not understanding why you feel the need to downplay his accomplishments to date. re Two wins against Verdasco. Sure Fernando can be flakey at times but he was playing well in San Jose. I am in agreement with you about being realistic but I don't think we need to downplay what he has done so far.

smr , 2/17/11 3:24 PM

Er..where did I downplay his accomplishment? Good for him to win his first title at age 20; Dolgo hasn't even win one at age 22, and to me at this point, Dolgo is a better player and I like his game. It's the overhyping here that make some here, me included, unhappy that we are not willing to talk too much about his accomplishment. FYI, I did acknowledge his win in an earlier thread. Well Raonic and Dolgo are the two more promising ones among the young up and comers. However, in the long run, I think Tomic may be the one who is most entertaining and at the same time getting the right results, ie winning slams, if he continues his way of playing, of course putting in the hard work as well. Tomic's game is just like Murray's, a thinking man's game but he is more aggressive than Murray. If he gets the combination right he can go far. Raonic has the potential to be better of course, if he continues to serve like that, he'll be hard to beat when he's more experienced as a player, however I won't enjoy his game that much because I won't fancy a game that based primarily on the big serves. Dolgo to me is the most entertaining to watch but I'm not sure he'll get the desired results, ie winning a slam. His style is unpredictable and he's too inconsistent. I'm not sure he can ever be consistent with his style of play.

luckystar , 2/17/11 3:40 PM

Well, Lucky you say Fernando was not at his best in an earlier post (and I do read all the posts here). I like Dolgo too, a lot! And I know you like to watch the new up and comers, that's why I was a bit sensitive about Raonic (it felt like his accomplishments were being diminished to prove a point with another poster); that and the fact that we haven't had any singles players in the top 100 here in Canada for a zillion years.
I thought all three players Dolgo, Raonic and Tomic looked really good at this years AO.
I'm not such a fan of the "big serve" either. RG has always been my fav tornament. But I'm enjoying Milos' improvements and sucess (and his forehand :) ) and I think he is doing the right thing with his new Spanish coach. Sorry if you were offended by my comments.

smr , 2/17/11 4:01 PM

It's ok smr, and yes I feel Verdasco can play better than he was playing in San Jose. To think that an experienced player like him squandering away a 6-2 lead in a tie break is unacceptable, especially against an inexperienced player like Raonic. It's not like Murray against Rafa, at the WTF, where Rafa was 1-4 down in the third set tie break and managed to come back and win. Both Murray and Rafa are top five players, Raonic is no.59 and Verdasco can't handle a tie break lead against Raonic, to me that's shameful, even if it's true that Verdasco may carry an injury. Just one point and he can't even win it with his own serve!

Sorry that I may sound hush earlier on, well I hope Raonic vs Stepanek next will be an interesting one. Win or loss, it should be good experience for Raonic, as Stepanek is one crafty player, mixing in S& V and lots of net play in his game, totally different type of player from Verdasco and Ferrer. Good luck to him.

luckystar , 2/17/11 4:18 PM

Raonic current success bodes well for his career. Only time will tell as it gets tougher and tougher as you go up and as the years go by so it is WAY too early to tell how well he will do. But if Rofa Rager said kindly that he will make it to the top 10 then he will probably make it at least to the top 20.

I do think Fernando has to be given some slack due to the broken bone in his ankle. But yes, he has been a head case except for that great patch late '08 early '09.

In the meantime Raonic is doing wonders for tennis here in Canada. I've just read that our local tv stations will be carrying more tennis.

chlorostoma , 2/17/11 5:37 PM

numero , 2/17/11 6:56 PM

Yep Lucky, Sexy Steps will surely not break down mentally and should send some shots that Raonic hasn't yet seen. Absolutely the kind of matches he needs to play.

smr , 2/17/11 7:16 PM

luckystar , 2/17/11 7:25 PM

Hard to break Raonic's serves, but Stepanek has so much tricks up his sleeves. One set apiece. Let's see who wins now.

luckystar , 2/17/11 8:32 PM

It is great that tennis has a new young hope. Raonic beat Stepanek and he will meet Kendrick in the next round. Kendrick is aged 31 and ranked 110. He has a good serve and a good forehand.

vij , 2/17/11 10:06 PM

Good experience for Raonic playing against Stepanek. Raonic certainly needs to fight hard to win, and Stepanek plays a stinker in the last set tie break and lost, after fighting so hard to stay in the match. Well done Raonic, good calm and cool composure on the court. I think he's really confident about his serve, that he knows he can rely on it to bail him out of trouble.

luckystar , 2/17/11 10:25 PM

Top 16 before RG? You think possible? Please show some respect for those guys in the top 20.

luckystar , 2/17/11 6:27 AM

I think its realistic .. he has reached 53 if you include memphis points so far. He could crack in Top 50 today.

and before RG there are 5 MS tournaments and i believe he can atleast pass through 2-3 starting rounds.

here's a look from ATP site:

Here is a look at Raonic?s ranking improvement since finishing No. 156 at the end of last season:
Jan. 17 ? No. 152 4th RD at Australian Open
Jan. 31 ? No. 94 2nd RD in Johannesburg
Feb. 7 -- No. 84 Winner in San Jose
Feb. 14 ? No. 59 2nd RD in Memphis
Feb. 21 ? around No. 56 or around No. 53 (if reaches QF)

BTW ..if raonic wins this tournament his ranking will be exactly 32 which would be half way through which i wished(although i know this would be crazy and not supposed to be happen)

on another note, I think it's nothing related to respect to top players everyone earns his spot in rankings.

mani4Tennis , 2/18/11 8:43 AM

mani - As Verdasco mentioned, Raonic can be in top 20, but the top 20 guys will have something to say, especially those who can return serves well. I'm not sure Raonic can play well on clay especially he didn't grow up playing on clay. He may end up like Murray, good on surfaces other than clay. Also before the QF of Masters, he'll most likely bump into a top
eight guy. I'm confident the likes of Sod, Berdych, Ferrer, Roddick all can deal with him, not to mention Fed, Rafa, Nole and Murray. So how many points can he collect from five
Masters? Your guess is as good as mine. Not forgetting he may bump into the likes of Nalby, Delpo, Tsonga, Stan before meeting the top eight guys. Of course he may beat some of them, but his path to the QF of Masters is definitely not easy. I think 250 and 500 events are doable for him. For this Memphis tournament, I think I'll go for Roddick to win; Raonic may reach the final, as I think he may be able to beat Kendrick, Fish/Querry.

luckystar , 2/18/11 10:42 AM

I agree with Sampras being more than a huge serve, he had a great skill at the net, huge forehand, good on-the-run recoveries, great athleticism and more..
But I reiterate that I couldn't stand watching him - we all have our favourite players and Sampras didn't do it for me. I like Fed's game much more.

Shireling , 2/18/11 2:06 PM

We'll know more once IW and Miami roll around. I am of the opinion that the Masters events are among the most difficult to win...because you basically play every day and all of the top players are, the field is smaller, so the odds of getting someone like Fed in the first round are higher.

One thing is for sure...he's dangerous. Even the likes of Nole, Rog and Rafa wouldn't care to see him as their first round opponent.

cherylmurray , 2/18/11 2:51 PM

Whoa Milos showed some fire and attitude today! After struggling through a 13 minute service game at 4-2, he got to match point 40-15 at 5-3. Kendrick hit a ball near the sideline that Milos thought was out and the linesperson called out but the umpire called good. Next point was an ace to finish with a rebel yell and no handshake for the umpire.

numero , 2/18/11 7:16 PM


Why was my comment "inane"? Because you say so? Please! The last time I checked, we are all free to express our opinions, so I don't need your seal of approval every time I post!

I gave my opinion. If you don't agree, so be it. Also, let's be clear that no one is stopping your or anyone else from jumping up and down and going crazy with excitement, if you wish. Or are you giving some of us that much power over you and your feelings? Why don't you just leave it alone and accept the simple fact that not everyone has decided that Raonic is the next Sampras or the next anyone, for that matter!

Nativenewyorker , 2/19/11 4:26 AM


To add to my previous post - when you quote me, then please read what I wrote! If you had, then you would realize that my issue was that some seemed to think that Raonic had a better shot at RG than other established top players! You make yourself look even more ridiculous than ever, when you go to the trouble of quoting me, but don't bother to actually read all that I said. Did I sound as though I was afraid of threats to Rafa? Absolutely not! As matter of fact, I acknowledged that there are other players who have a shot at winning! That's called competition, in case you didn't know it.

It is so like you to think that Rafa fans are afraid of a guy like Raonic! First, we are hearing him called the next Sampras, comparing him to one of the truly great players in the game. Even I expressed my annoyance at that and I was not a Sampras fan. I do not like hyperbole and that's what all this chatter is - just talk!

Far be it from me to deprive you of any delusions of grandeur. Have a good time with your fantasies. For now, I have my feet on the ground, where they belong. I have always adopted an attitude of "wait and see" when the next great hope arrives on the scene. Last year it was Cilic and Gulbis and we all know how that turned out. Have a blast, but I simply choose to wait and see more of this young man. I will not give him greatness before he has earned it.

Nativenewyorker , 2/19/11 4:35 AM

Dolgo has a style similar to...... ndr-dolgopolovs-all-round-efficiency/

nirv02 , 2/19/11 5:47 AM

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