Tennis Canada Star Milos Raonic Set for Serbia and Alex Burrows?

Frank Doyle | Updated Apr 10, 2013

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Raonic sets sights high after Team Canada’s historic Davis Cup victory

At this point, Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic will take on all comers – including Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows. After Burrows watched Raonic lead Team Canada to its historic 3-1 victory over Italy in their Davis Cup quarterfinal tie, the veteran hockey player told the Vancouver Sun that he’d like to try to return one of Raonic’s serves. The toast of Canadian tennis didn’t back down, tweeting “Let’s do it Alex!!!” That left the ball in Burrows’ (ahem) court, so to speak.

“It might happen, you never know,” Burrows told the Vancouver Sun, also mentioning he has tickets for August’s Rogers Cup in Montreal.  “It would be something. I think I could handle one and then, on the next stroke, he’d probably kill me. But I would love to try. He’s such a good server, probably the best in the world. Maybe if he served on skates, I would probably have a better chance.”

It’s this sort of interaction that shows how much tennis is growing in Canada. At this time of the year, with fewer than 10 games remaining on the NHL schedule and the Toronto Blue Jays’ season just underway, tennis is a long way down on the sporting totem pole. That seems to be changing though.

Team Canada hadn’t been to the Davis Cup quarterfinals before upsetting Spain back in February and now has its sights set on the tournament semifinal against powerhouse Serbia. Instead of playing at home as Team Canada was against Italy, the squad will be the visitors in September. However, with so many ties to Serbia, that doesn’t worry the Canadians. Raonic hails from Montenegro and Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor both have Serbian ties as well.

“Stuff is going to be easy there, it’s not like we’re going to South America and nobody speaks Spanish,” Raonic told Tennis Canada. “I think it’s going to be a comfortable situation for us – but obviously not too comfortable. And I think there will be, for that reason, a bit more support than you would imagine for us. I look forward to playing there.”

Tennis Canada hopes Raonic is just the latest of many superstars to come. Canada is just now beginning to see the gains after throwing an additional $1 million at the nation’s tennis program in 2007 and building a state-of-the-art training facility in Montreal.

“I think the Canadian system, what they did really well the last few years is they did create a national tennis center,” Raonic told ESPN.com recently. “Because also of the scarceness of top tennis players in Canada, it’s very important for Canada to put a lot of players together in the same place.”

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