With Genie Bouchard ousted already, Milos Raonic now has all of Canada in his corner as he moves through the Wimbledon bracket.
When Canadian tennis fans really needed a big effort from Milos Raonic at Wimbledon, he delivered.
Raonic blasted 29 aces on his way to tournament-opening win, which sets up a 2014 Wimbledon quarterfinal rematch with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios on Friday.
Sports Interaction has Raonic pegged as a -259 favorite, just a few days after Canada saw another one of its favorites, Eugenie Bouchard, crash and burn in the first round.
Milos Raonic Serving for Canada
Luckily, Raonic looks more than ready to do his country proud at Wimbledon this year.
Raonic clocked the third-fastest serve ever at Wimbledon at 233 km/h (149 mph) on his way to dispatching veteran Tommy Haas.
“I wish I had a serve like that just once in a match,” Haas told reporters after the match, echoing tennis players around the world.
The no. 7 seed Raonic made the semi-finals at the All England Club last year before having surgery for an inflamed nerve in his right foot. The procedure caused him to miss the French Open earlier in the year, but he was still able to win two rounds in his return to action at the Queen’s Club Event in London recently.
While Canadians are known for their love of hockey, there’s been a noticeable shift from ambivalence to tennis madness that seemed to appear overnight after the 2011 Australian Open. It was then that 20-year-old Raonic was put in the spotlight, taking the court against Michael Llodra, putting his huge serve on display, and blasting past the Frenchman.
He then faced Russian Mikhail Youzhny, then ranked 10th, at a match he was supposed to lose. Raonic went on to win in four sets, finding himself in the fourth round of a Grand Slam. He was only the second Canadian man to do so and the first since 1999’s Daniel Nestor at Wimbledon.
As Raonic continues to succeed, Canada’s love for tennis grows. The media closely follows each match, churning out story after story detailing his play.