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February 22, 2013

How Good is Milos Raonic?

Some people believe 22-year-old Milos Raonic is the best threat to the hegemony the "big four" have held on Grand Slam touranments for a decade. 

Milos certainly has weapons: Arguably the best serve in tennis today, averaging 133 mph and hitting 150 mph, a big contemporary slappy-forehand, and huge wingspan at the net. 

So far, Milos has won 4 ATP Tour titles, gotten up to 13 in the world ( he's currently ranked 14), led the tour in percentage of service gains won in 2012 at 91%, while falling three swings behind John Isner at 1,002 aces. 

But, as someone who has been a fan of Raonic since he and fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil beat Rafa and Novak in doubles at Toronto ages back, it's been a roller-coaster-ride: Wins a title, loses in the first round, makes a move, gets an injury. 

My amatuer take: How far Raonic rises will be a test of his Spanish coaching and whether it makes sense for a 6 ft 5 in player to return serve from well back, then run so far around his backhand to hit inside-out-forehands. Does that maximize his offense, or expose his movement? 

Technqiue-wise, are Raonic's return of serve, and ability to approach the net good enough to take him to the top? WIth his nuclear serve, Raonic is a threat against any-and-everyone on a given day on any surface. 

Then again, the biggest threat to Raonic's success may be biting his own tongue, since he sticks it out on seemingly every shot <g>

Here is a photo from last week's San Jose final, where Milos not only won his third title, but with the event moved to Brazil, ends his work there undefeated in three years. Below the photo is a slideshow. 

Raonic Forehand Impact_SAP13 15

Raonic Forehand Back Close_SAP13

Click to play the slideshow, then click the arrow icons to see full screen. 

## #tennis

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