By Sally Milano
Throughout the year, EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com will feature players who could make an impact during this year's Series. Here’s a look at 23-year-old Milos Raonic of Canada, who is the youngest player ranked in the Top 20 and is currently listed at No. 11 in the world.
The Baseline: Milos Raonic became the first player from Canada to crack the Top 10 in the ATP rankings after reaching the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal last August, when he defeated Juan Martin del Potro before falling to Rafael Nadal in the final.
At 23, Raonic is the youngest player in the Top 20, currently checking in at No. 11. Often grouped with the likes of Grigor Dimitrov, Jerzy Janowicz and Bernard Tomic as the future of the game, the 6-foot-5 right-hander just missed out on a place in the elite eight-man field at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals last year, when he also led Canada to the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time. Since June 2013, the Toronto native has been coached by Ivan Ljubicic, who was once ranked as high as No. 3 in the world rankings.
The Breakdown: The recipient of the ATP’s Newcomer of the Year Award in 2011, Raonic has won five career titles and has reached five career finals – all on his favorite hard-court surface – since turning pro in 2008; last year he compiled a solid 36-12 record on hard courts. Always a threat in any draw, he owns one of the game’s most feared serves, has a huge forehand and is not afraid to approach the net.
The next step for Raonic is a deep run at a Grand Slam event. He came close at the 2013 US Open, serving 39 aces in a 6-7, 7-6, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 loss to Richard Gasquet in the fourth round, but he has yet to advance to a Grand Slam quarterfinal. In Grand Slam play overall, Raonic has reached the round of 16 four times – all on hard courts, twice at the Australian Open (2011, 2013) and twice at the US Open (2012, 2013).
An ankle injury he suffered at the 2014 Australian Open forced him out of Canada’s Davis Cup first-round tie against Japan in early February, but once Raonic gets healthy and returns to action, be on the lookout for solid hard-court results in the Emirates Airline US Open Series and a potential breakthrough run in Flushing Meadows.
Please also see our past Series Spotlights: