Rafael Nadal’s decision to pull out of the London 2012 Olympics has moved Canada’s Milos Raonic from pretender to contender in the hunt for medals. Al Dannity looks at the impact Nadal’s withdrawal has on the whole draw.
Ferrer joins the big boys
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were already certain to be separated until the final but now they have new company in the top four. Andy Murray, who lost to Federer in dramatic circumstances, moves up to third seed but the big news is the arrival of David Ferrer in the top four. Unlike Wrestling or Boxing, the fourth seed is not enough to give Ferrer an easier path to a medal. With a Bronze Final to decide third, Ferrer will still have his work cut out to leave London with something. The move however assures the Spaniard of a softer route to the semi-finals.
Del Potro reaps big reward
The form of Juan Martin Del Potro is nearly impossible to predict but the Argentinian will have a broad smile after news of Nadal’s withdrawal. The World number 9 was at risk of an arduous path to the last eight but he will now find the road that little bit smoother as the eighth seed. The big guns will also be pleased to learn Del Potro won’t await them in the early round as the former US Open champion is a perennial dark horse contender.
What of Raonic?
The news of Nadal’s withdrawal won’t make many waves in Milos Raonic’s camp until the draw is made. Should the Canadian be placed in Ferrer or Murray’s side of the draw, he will fancy his chances of going all the way to the medal rounds. The Thornhill, Ont. player already holds a win over Murray this season and has pushed Roger Federer to the brink in three matches. In the best-of-three set format, which will be in place for all rounds bar the final, Raonic’s aggressive game will give him every chance of shocking some of the sport’s top names.
The draw however remains the all-important factor. As he found in the Masters Series this year, being un-seeded leaves Raonic open to some horrific early match-ups. Until he cracks the top 16 in the world, the Canadian is going to face a tough road. The Olympics however presents an opportunity to make up significant ground. Graded midway between a Masters Series and 500 level event, a couple of wins at SW19 would put the Canadian on course to crack the world’s elite with the Rogers Cup just around the corner.
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