Will this US Open be the big breakout party we’ve been waiting on for Milos Raonic? The big-serving 21-year-old has reached the fourth round in New York and tomorrow he’ll face one of the biggest matches of his career against former finalist Andy Murray.
With his monster serve and limitless firepower, the calm, composed Canadian says gameplan is to play his style and make the opponent adjust to it.
“My job is to go out there and make my opponents adjust to me,” Raonic said yesterday after beating James Blake. “I feel like I have the ability to be more dangerous than most players when I have the ball on my racquet, especially out of my hand on a serve. That just puts a lot of pressure on my opponents if I’m serving well. So it’s one thing I try to take advantage of as much as I can, is that a lot of matches can depend on me. I’m the one to blame. I just try to make the most of those moments. And when I don’t make the most of the moments ‑ I missed a few against Roger (Federer) earlier this year ‑ try to learn as much as I can from them and try to avoid making the same mistakes.”
Raonic, who grew up idolizing Pete Sampras for his game and demeanor, upset Murray earlier in the year on clay in Barcelona. But two other meetings this year were cancelled due to injuries by both players.
“If I serve well, if I hit the lines, it’s tough to get my serve back,” Raonic said of facing Murray. “It’s really him adjusting more to me than myself to him. If I’m serving well, I’m hitting my spots, it’s about making him feel as uncomfortable as possible. If I serve well, that’s sort of what sort of happens. It’s a ripple effect.
“The fact that it’s a Grand Slam adds a little bit more to it. At the same time it’s sort of a situation I feel very comfortable in. So it puts everything aside. I know I can create my opportunities. I know what I’m capable of. I know what I can do. I just have to really step up and do it.”
Murray admitted playing Raonic is a dangerous proposition.
“When you have big, big weapons, that obviously helps,” Murray said of Raonic. “He’s had some good wins this year. He’s also had some tough losses. Like against Tsonga at the Olympics, he lost a very close one. He lost a close one against Querrey at Wimbledon, as well. His match with Hewitt in Australia was a tough match, too. He’s obviously playing better and better. He’s gaining experience all the time. Yeah, he’s definitely going to be dangerous.”
Raonic reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open earlier this year losing to David Ferrer.
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