It was the biggest shock of the opening week of tennis season but in the Brisbane final Milos Raonic defeated Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 to claim his first title of 2016 and his second win over Roger to win 8th career title in style!
2015 was a tough year for Milos with a number of injury problems but with his performance against Roger in the final of Brisbane it may set him up for a very good season on the tour. Two things impressed me about Raonic in Brisbane against Roger and they were his backhand and anticipation at the net.
I wouldn’t say that net play has ever been Milos’ strongest point but he did seem more comfortable with his volleys and movement in the final against Roger who is one of the best at passing players at the net.
The backhand of Raonic was the standout shot of the match for me but for a couple of reasons.
When Raonic is usually attacked in the backhand corner of the court we always see him run around the backhand to play a forehand which does give him two options…
He can either go cross court with the forehand or flick it up the line. We did see this in the match quite a bit as he can generate tremendous power off the forehand.
However we also saw a lot of him step up on the baseline and slam a far few backhands up the line and cross court on returns of serve forcing Roger into errors or hitting winners off the backhand.
To be as efficient off the forehand and the backhand in tennis is very important especially if you want to go to the top of the game and if Raonic can continue this form throughout the next few weeks and get a good run going in Melbourne and going into a few Masters 1000 events over the next few months I see no reason why he can’t cement his place in the top 10 of the men’s game and hopefully can put the injury issues of last year behind him and push on this season!
It was a truly incredible performance and hopefully it does set him up for a good season on the tour and who knows maybe even put a run together in Melbourne where he made the quarter finals last season.