Childhood coach Milos Raonic: ‘I knew he’d show up ready to go’ | ATP Tour | Tennis

Milos Raonic had a memorable start at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, advancing into the third round at the Toronto ATP Masters 1000 despite playing just four matches since the 2021 Atlanta Open.

In Florida, Casey Curtis, Raonic’s childhood coach, which teaches Canadians from the ages of 8 to 17, followed along

“Obviously I’m really happy for him. We’ve been keeping in touch for the last few years and I know it’s been hard work for him,” Curtis told “I know he’ll show up ready to go. He’s not the type to try and fit in. He’ll make sure he’s ready to go before he leaves. And that’s what we saw.”

after battling injury The former No. 3 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings quickly found his form to compete with the best players in the world. And after beating Frances Tiafoe and Taro Daniel, he beat Mackenzie McDonald by a distance, creating the first Masters 1000 race in a quarterfinal since the 2020 Rolex Paris Masters.

It comes as no surprise to Curtis, who has watched the 32-year-old’s game develop for nearly 25 years.

“He was eight and he was on the ball at 10pm and back at 6am, with his dad trying to get his game started in shape so he could join my group. Gotta go,” Curtis said. “I personally teach him and they will work with the ball machine, that is. [for] about three months or so Since then he has improved quite a bit, but he actually has a more work ethic. Maybe about age 11,12, 13 and [then] I think he understands what to do.

“It’s not that he doesn’t have a work ethic. I think he always did. But he began to realize more and more the effort he had to put in to achieve what he had now. And he was willing to do that as soon as he understood.”

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Photo: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
According to Curtis, he works with Raonic at Blackmore Tennis Club in Richmond Hill, not far from Sobeys Stadium. Club owner Terry Redvers will not charge court rates. and they will arrive at 6:00 AM.

“There are people who will come out and you tell them, ‘Hey, this is what you really want to do if you want to try to improve your game and become a great player’ and they’ll do it again. a couple of weeks,” Curtis said. “If such Waking up at 5am or 5:30am, they think they’ve received it and will show up for a few weeks. And then you won’t see them again for a while.

“So Milos is persevering. He just keeps coming in and crushing and that’s why he’s here.”

Under Curtis’ control Raonic’s destructive service has grown into a weapon these days. Raonic started the tournament third in percentage of professional service games won according to Infosys ATP Stats, behind only Ivo Karlovic and John Isner. This became the key moment Curtis spent most of his time concentrating on it.

“I feel like he must be tall. Because every man in his family is tall, his father is tall, his brother is tall. All his cousins ​​and uncles were tall. So there’s a good chance Milos is high as well,” Curtis said. “Everyone knows how important the serve is. but especially If you are tall and tall I think it should take a lot of time to serve.”

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Curtis recalled a conversation he had with another coach. which asked him why he had spent so many hours directing Canadian shipping.

“I said, ‘Listen, I want this kid to average 15 aces per match, and if he can average 15 aces per match. I think he has the potential to be a top professional,’” Curtis said. “Last night he was 37 and 15 today.”

Raonic is ranked 545th in the world, but he certainly doesn’t play like that in front of the fans. in his home in Toronto

“Obviously he wants to play. I mean he wants to keep competing. And I think he can clearly see that he can play at the highest level,” Curtis said. “You have to ask him where he thinks he’s going. But nothing surprises me. I’ll tell you, this guy, he’s one of the few who can beat a number one or two guys.”

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