Milos Raonic had dealt with injuries for almost two years and had not played a match since July 2021. In fact, at one point he even mulled retirement. Yet, if you watched him play today, you probably wouldn’t have known any of that.
The former No. 3 was a force to be reckoned with on serve, with 15 aces and a first serve win percentage of 92 percent, as he quickly dispatched Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the ATP 250 Rosmalen Grass Court Championships.
Though, he did double-fault seven times Monday.
Milos Raonic shines in his first match in two years
However, given his time away from tennis, the double-faults are something that will no doubt decrease. Not only was Raonic’s serve effective, but he looked quite fit and was extremely strong from his forehand. This is quite encouraging for a player who has traditionally found success on the grass surface.
As mentioned, Raonic’s game bodes well on grass, most notably because of his strong serve which has been deemed the ‘maple leaf missile’. The ‘maple leaf missile’ has found success at Wimbledon, including at least four quarterfinal runs, and a run to the finals back in 2016.
Going forward in this tournament, Raonic may have a clear path forward to the quarterfinals of where he could possibly face Daniil Medvedev.
Whether that happens or not, what we saw from him today is about the most encouraging thing we can ask for, as even he at one point considered retiring amidst injury woes. Now thrust back into competition, Raonic will continue to get preparation before playing in Wimbledon for the first time since 2019, where he made it to the fourth round.
Given his play Monday, perhaps a renaissance from Raonic is possible. But just playing at this competitive level again is something note-worthy for the former No. 1 Canadian who had to endure so much.