Australian Open Mens 1r Preview Milos Raonic (16) Vs Nick Kyrgios

Australian Open
Photo courtesy of Carine06 at Flickr

Milos Raonic was No.3 in the world when he made the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2017, had recently reached his first slam final at Wimbledon ’16, and had made the ATP WTF semis.

While hard work and talent can get you a step ahead in pro tennis, there’s nothing like an injury to set you two steps back, as Raonic unfortunately experienced when on the verge of reaching his potential, wrist and right leg injuries derailed his career, bringing his momentum to a halt and his ranking dropping to 40 in late February 2018.

Raonic has fought back, though, reaching in the last 12 months the Miami semis, the Wimbledon quarters, and the US Open last 16, and is seeded 16 at this year’s Australian Open.

The draw Gods have not been kind to him, though, putting him against home hope Nick Kyrgios in the first round.

Nick Kygrios is currently ranked 51 (he was still a top 20 player last August). Kyrgios has not always helped himself when it comes to reaching his potential, but he’s also been cursed with injuries, an elbow one the most recent.

Had the tennis fates been kinder, these two, aged 28 (Raonic) and 23 (Krygios) might have both been seeded in the top 8 right now and drawn to meet in the quarters.

It would not have been too far fetched to predict a few years back that Raonic and Kyrgios might even meet each other in either the Australian Open, Wimbledon or US Open finals.

But injuries derail plenty of potential Grand slam winning careers and it’s determination and luck which get them back on track.

With Raonic, there’s no question he’ll work his hardest to give himself that chance to reach his potential; with Kyrgios, what happens is anyone’s guess.

For now, though, the issue both men have to face is one of the toughest matches in the Australian Open first round.

The two have met 6 times and their head to head is split 3-3. Kyrgios won their sole hard encounter in the Miami 2016 quarters.

Going into this match, Kyrgios lost in the second round of Brisbane in three sets to Jeremy Chardy while Raonic reached the Brisbane quarters where he lost a close three setter to Daniil Medvedev making him the more match fit of the two.

The match is likely to be decided by the serve and the second ball. If either throw in a weak service game, their opponent has a great chance to take the set. Raonic arguably has the more solid backcourt game to put a few doubts in Kyrgios’ mind on break point; Kyrgios has the shotmaking ability should Raonic slip up and throw in any sitters or short balls.

This match is a real toss up. Raonic’s better focus and drive suggests when this match is up in the air, it’ll come down on his side, but he’s playing Nick Kyrgios so anything is possible, which, for a Grand Slam first rounder, is all you can really ask for.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.

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