ATP World Tour Finals: Raonic aims to break into world top three
A good result in London could propel the current number four into the top three for the first time in his career.
After beating Gael Monfils, Raonic faces the second hurdle in the round robin stage of the tournament tonight, as he faces defending champion and world number two Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic also won his first game in London against Dominic Thiem in three sets, 6-7, 6-0, 6-2.
Although the Serb has never been beaten by Raonic, he has not won any of the last four tournaments he entered, which is disappointing only if your name is Novak Djokovic.
But Raonic has not stepped into the tournament untethered either as he made headlines last week for all the wrong reasons.
Andy Murray clinched world number one after Raonic was forced out of the Paris’ semi-finals through injury.
But his leg healed well and he was on the court again in London less than ten days later to face Frenchman Gael Monfils on the opening day of the World Tour Finals.
Big serving, consistent and ice cold, the 6 ft 5 Canadian never flinched at Monfils’ tricks and he ended the game in straight sets, 6-3 and 6-4.
Breaking into the top three would mean a first high in his burgeoning carreer, but with eight of the best players of the moment in London, he will need to bring his best.
Stanislav Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori, world numbers three and five, are his main competitors for the spot, and they faced each other yesterday in their first match of the round robin.
Nishikori won in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-3, in a surprisingly uninspiring match.
Wawrinka was unable to switch on and in only 67 minutes the match was over. The Swiss’ underwhelming performance could open up the door into the top three.
A face-off between Nishikori, 26, and Raonic, 25, for year-end number three, could be somewhat of a window into what the future of top tennis may hold.
Along with Dominic Thiem, 23, they are the youngsters in the top ten and may be the next generation of champions.