His big serve? Confident charges to the net? Ability to return first serves with pace and precision?
Sure, all important – as American James Blake just discovered as the 15th-seeded Raonic knocked him off to advance to the fourth round of the US Open. But the key to the young Canadian’s success last year and this is his confidence.
Raonic, still in the early stages of what’s looking more and more like a huge career to come, really believes that on any given day, he’s as good as anyone. Here’s an example: on Tuesday, Raonic has a date with #4-ranked Andy Murray, who very recently demolished world #1 Roger Federer to win the Olympic gold medal – but whom Raonic actually beat once before, back in April.
Some guys would be spooked, and certainly, many young players would be singing some variant of the “I’m just happy to get a chance to play against a legend” song. But this is what Raonic says about his upcoming match: “I only have to worry about taking care of myself and my game. I do what I need to do to get ready. I need to go out there and take the match from him… You give the top four guys a lot of respect, but I think my win over him was good experience. It humanizes the guy. I need to do the right things in our next match.”
Two key points there…Raonic doesn’t see Murray as an idol, legend, any of that. He’s a human – and a beatable one at that. Milos plans to go take the match from his opponent, and he knows he’s got the stuff to do it.