Tennis Prose



Raonic Free Fall Continues At Queens

queensMilos Raonic has floundered this year with subpar results, including today’s 76 76 loss to Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round at Queens Club.

Earlier this year Raonic reached the final of Delray Beach but defaulted the title to Jack Sock because of a groin injury which he said was suffered in the semifinal win vs Del Potro.

The 26 year old Raonic (22-7 on the year) has struggled all year with disappointing losses, losing the final of Istanbul to Cilic 76 63, losing to Goffin in Madrid 64 62, losing to Alexander Zverev in Rome in the quarterfinal, losing to Berdych in the Lyon SF and losing at Roland Garros R16 to Carreno Busta 86 in the fifth set.

The loss today to the 698 ranked Kokkinakis is especially upsetting because grass is the best surface of Raonic and the 21 year old Australian has barely played any matches over the last two years because of injuries. Also frustrating for Raonic is that he was zero for nine on break point chances.

Could it be that the ATP no. 6 has seen his best days on the Tour and blown his opportunities to win a major title?

It seems like the #NEXTGEN brigade is passing by the powerful but predictable Raonic who has possibly stopped improving and adding new elements to his once formidable arsenal.

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  • Hartt · June 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Raonic had one injury or illness after another through most of the season, missing several weeks because of injury. In Istanbul he has strep throat and nearly did not play. Before writing off Milos, we should see how the rest of his season goes.

    Everyone keeps saying grass is his best surface, but he did not have good results on it until quite recently. I think his most consistent surface is hard courts. And the grass-court season is so short that it does not have the same impact as the hard court tourneys.

    To me, the big shocker today was not Raonic’s loss to Kokkinakis. I was disappointed and thought Milos needed to play the big points better than he did. But Kokki is a very talented player who had a great day. The real shock is Andy Murray losing to Jordan Thompson.

  • Andrew Miller · June 20, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    I’ve knocked Isner before for losing gimme matches like the Raonic loss to Kokkinakis. Better to lose here then at Wimbledon.

    Raonic’s exclusive focus on singles (not even a point played on the doubles court) combined with his losing high caliber coaches like Moya that advised him for critical matches, has sunk him a bit this year.

    He hasn’t done horribly, but it isn’t the preparation he’s had in the last few years and will no doubt ruffle him.

    Bottom line: It’s a match he would have won last year.

  • Andrew Miller · June 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Murray lost? Now I’m really doubting the big fellas’ grip on tennis and whether the peace will hold at Wimbledon. They are winning every slam but how much longer can this hold, where they lose more and more events that they normally win?

  • Hartt · June 20, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Andrew, Milos played doubles at Queen’s with Daniel Nestor. They lost in the 1R to Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin.

  • Hartt · June 20, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Andrew, it’s clear that Moya left Raonic to go with his old friend Rafa. That was not Milos’ decision. In fact, I think Raonic should be given credit for taking on Moya as a coach, for giving him the opportunity to get coaching experience.

  • Andrew Miller · June 20, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Hartt, I agree with you. Raonic made for a great guinea pig and Nadal owes him a thank you card.

  • Andrew Miller · June 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Hartt, was that Raonic’s first doubles match of 2017? I don’t think it’s been an awful year for him, his Win/loss record is very good. Just that he’s entering Wimbledon in worse form than he wants. He’ll benefit from his seeding at Wimbledon, which should set him up for a few rounds. By then he may find his footing.

  • Andrew Miller · June 20, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Kokkinakis looks in mirror, sees Mario Ancic.

  • Andrew Miller · June 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    And Donna Vekic loses in r1 in Birmingham England. And the wta carousel of recent champs keeps spinning…

    You’ve got to admit it, the wta tour is the most unpredictable in years. As soon as a player like Konta picks up steam she flounders. As soon as Vekic and Vesnina break through their playing level drops several levels.

  • Hartt · June 20, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Andrew, I agree that Raonic, like other players, would benefit from playing more doubles. But between injuries and illness he’s had a hard time even getting many singles matches. He was off altogether between Miami (which he should not have played because of injury) and Istanbul. And of course that impacts on practice time as well as tournament play.

    I was glad that you mentioned his win-loss record this season is very good, that seems to get lost in all the criticism he is getting these days.

  • Hartt · June 20, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Re Murray, he lost to lucky loser Jordan Thompson, ranked No. 90. 7-6, 6-2. Thompson played well, but he was not so brilliant that Andy should have lost to him. Will be interested to see what happens in Thompson’s next match. Will he follow the common pattern in these situations of losing that match?

  • Dan Markowitz · June 21, 2017 at 3:27 am

    The Koz again, just like he did last year on grass, knocks off SteveJo. Let’s see if the Koz can repeat his grass success on hard courts this summer.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Kokkinakis may see Brian Baker in the mirror – let's hope not. Kokkinakis is obviously a top ten caliber potential player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Thompson keeps striking with these big wins – First Ferrer then Sock and now Andy goes down in flames. Thompson is doing something right with Hewitt in his corner though he is 0-2 this year vs Nishioka.

  • Andrew Miller · June 21, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Scoop, Kokkinakis and Opelka are these uber talented guys who get injured so often as to ruin their seasons. Wouldn’t hurt Opelka to pick Karlovic’s brain on how to stay healthy as a big man.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2017 at 9:44 am

    I don't think Ivo will willingly supply his secrets. Hiring a spy and a drone to cover Karlovic's every move on and off the court could glean that information 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · June 21, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Big guys get hurt. There’s a reason del potro couldn’t stay on top of the tennis world after his blistering us open run in 2009.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 21, 2017 at 11:11 am


    You were right on the money last week with with Special K – Kozlov. Can he upset Cilic and set up a showdown with D-Young? Remember their match in Indian Wells. It was labelled on YouTube as the worst tiebreak in history!

  • Andrew Miller · June 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Gavrilova doing great. Nice to see so many ova doing well, Kvitova, Pliskova, Safarova, Gavrilova. I like Gavrilova because she can volley!

  • Andrew Miller · June 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Sorry to see DBrown lose a close one against Bautista Agut, who has filled in admirably for David Ferrer as Spain’s ironman not named Nadal.

    Gasquet just thrives on grass. He’s moving through his draws with a measure of ease.

    I’m guardedly optimistic on DY with Kardon’s coaching. He’s advancing without making much noise and his racquet, if it could speak, would say it’s going well out there.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Got lucky Duke because right before I said that Kozlov lost in the grass Challenger to Santillan 6-3 in third but he fixed whatever was wrong and has won four out of five since that setback. Cilic is dangerous but he's also prone to having bad losses. He can overpower Kozlov but he can also underestimate Kozlov and get surprised by his trickiness. Big challenge for Kozlov but he's ready for anyone.

  • Andrew Miller · June 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Scoop, didn’t Isner and Karlovic pair up for doubles some time back? Seems like Isner really soaked it up.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Andrew; I don't recall ever seeing Isner and Ivo play together but one thing I am sure of – if these two played together for a whole year they would win at least two majors together 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Isner and Ivo played 2009 Aus Open together and lost 76 63 to Brzezicki and Calleri. They should have stuck together for a few more tries.

  • Hartt · June 21, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Berdych narrowly escaped being another upset stat at Queen’s. He pulled out a win against 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov, currently ranked about No. 191. The score was 7-6, 6-7. 7-5.

    Denis has received a WC for Wimby. He won the boys’ title there last year.

  • Andrew Miller · June 21, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Wow, what did the UK get for the wildcard? I tend to be cynical here, I’m not sure what Canada can offer, a few wildcards into the Canada Masters event?

    It would have been better for Shapovalov to play his way into the draw. I’m sure he would have come close via qualifying

  • Andrew Miller · June 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Cilic excels at losing to next Gen. For as well as he does he’s got some uneven results out there.

  • Hartt · June 21, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I don’t think Canada is offering anything. Rogers Cup is the only big tourney they can help Canadian players with WCs, so the WCs will go to Canadians.

    Winning the boys Wimby title last year would be a big part of it, and doing well at Queen’s. The commie said today that Denis was popular with the crowd.

    As the boys’ champ he definitely would have received a WC for the qualies, and I tend to agree with you, that might be a better option for Denis. Not to play in the main draw of Wimby as his 5th main draw match ever! But he has surprised me with his composure on the big stage this week. Maybe he will be OK.

  • Hartt · June 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Doubles news: The Zverev Bros. won over Baker/Peya, who retired in the first set. (Halle)

    Murray/Soares won over Muller/Querrey at Queen’s. At least one Murray is still in that tourney. 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · June 21, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Hartt, I hear you. Shapovalov is talented and may even have his chances in any first rounder. I’m just against wildcards for players at grand slams unless they are past champs or finalists or players coming back from injuries or if there are contests to get a slot (example, winner of the challenger point total for the previous two months etc).
    The USA did this after a miserable performance about three years ago? Where they gave a slew of wildcards to youth players and almost to a one they lost and it seems more like nepotism or favoritism in how they handed out the cards.
    At the us open that way of giving wildcards is gone (but may be back, who knows) and I think it single handedly rescued a few players careers because they realized they’d have to earn their way to the draw and actually took up the challenge.

  • jg · June 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I like the NCAA champ wildcard into the US Open, I think it’s a great tradition, by the way the Washington Post ran a nice story on the NCAA women’s champ last week from U of Michigan. Not an academy player at all.

  • Hartt · June 21, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    I agree with your concerns about WCs. I think they should be for experienced players coming back from injury. Or former stars in their final season, like Frannie and Tommy, so their fans have opportunities to see them one last time, and their home tourneys can celebrate their careers.

    Yes, receiving a lot of WCs have definitely harmed the careers of some youngsters. I agree it’s better for the young players to work their way up, gaining valuable experience. The occasional WC for a talented young player may be OK, but they should be based on how well the players are doing, not just given out willy nilly to local players. Or, as you suggest, having actual competition for the WCs.

    It is interesting that the Lyon Challenger gave a WC to 16-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime. Don’t know how they made that decision – Felix is hardly local, and in fact he beat a French player in the final. Have to admit I was glad they did, because it gave me the opportunity to see Felix play. Guess I’m not totally consistent about wildcards!

  • Bryan · June 24, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Bryan writes:

    Had Kokkinakis even won a match this year before Raonic? His freefall was a slow moving train wreck. As for Raonic, put a fork in his chances at Wimbledon.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 24, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Yes Bryan Kokkinakis did win a singles match earlier this year before Raonic and he won a doubles titles in Brisbane. Put a fork in Raonic's chances to win a major period maybe. Because he tried everything possible hired every coach possible and yet he still fell short. Raonic may have lost his self belief that he can actually win a major.



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