It is Martina Hingis’ 21th Grand Slam title: 5 in singles, 4 in mixed doubles and now 12 in women doubles.
Lucas Pouille’s coach Emmanuel Planque talks about the Canadian’s improved game.
Interview by l’Equipe, translation by Tennis Buzz
“Apart from Djoko, I don’t see anyone who can beat him here.” I told you that just after the match against Lucas (Pouille). I was a bit stunned after the match. I re-watched the match several times and the impression remained. OK, I wasn’t excited by the way Lucas started each set… but Milos gave us nothing. That guy doesn’t even give you the time of day. Right now, I find him fit. We’ve been talking about him as a future Grand Slam winner for two years now. Like Dimitrov? Yes and no. I’m sure Dimitrov will come back. But he’s less impressive and not prepared as well as Raonic. He has less weapons.
He’s really confident with his serve. In Brisbane and Melbourne, he was hitting second serves at 220, 224 and even 226 km/h. At some point you don’t know how to return them: if you step back, he hits a kick serve that bounces really high; if you move forward to cut the trajectory, he hits a 220km/h bullet. The average first serve speed is often mentioned as a way to judge a server, but don’t forget the second serve. He put power in it but it doesn’t mean that many more double faults. That’s tied to his current confidence and the fact that he hasn’t played the top two best returners yet, Murray and Djoko, who can bother him. The idea is to make him run so he’ll serve between 160 and 180 km/h. Because if he serves at 130, he’ll be more accurate, more coordinated, more relaxed. But it’s hard to make him run much when he’ll try and shorten the point quickly.
He has improved his game considerably. Mainly because he doesn’t have any physical problems. Last year, he had to undergo surgery to repair pinched nerve in his foot. Good health means more intensity at practice. You can tell he has worked on his returns. He’s much more consistent. Before he could miss a few second serve returns in a row. Today, he puts you continuously under pressure without taking any risks. He returns hard in the middle, that allows him to take a lot of second shots with his forehand. And then it’s difficult to escape. Facing him, you get tense and you lose 10 to 15 km/h on your serve. I think Milos has assimilated the fact that the best players in the world aren’t the best servers. His goal is to get a ratio of quality of serve/quality of return that is much better than the others’.
He’s part of a very strong project. To me, he’s not a Canadian at all. He’s a Yugo (born in Podgorica, Raonic lived in Montenegro until he was eight). He reminds me of Djoko with his ambition and application. Raonic is straightforward, intelligent, a worker. The guy could easily have been an engineer. Now he’s a tennis player, that’s his job. He’s not emotional, he’s rational. He works on his mechanics. Ljubicic (now Federer’s coach) helped with his serve and second shot. Ljubicic leaves and Raonic takes Moya, who’ll help him with his returns and bring him the deep parts of the game. And above all he has Piatti (former coach of Ljubicic and Gasquet) who is a great coach and who is doing a hell of a job with him.
Would it hurt tennis if Raonic became number one? I don’t agree with that kind of pessimism. I hear some people say Raonic is bland, isn’t sexy, he’s boring … No! Sure, tennis of tomorrow will be guys 1.95m tall moving like guys 1.75 tall and who can return too. Can these critics affect Raonic? I feel he’s there to win. The rest …
First clash between top players in this tournament and it didn’t disappoint! 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka rallied from two sets down to push Milos Raonic to a fifth set, but came up short and the recent Brisbane champion advanced to the quarterfinals after a 6-4 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-3 marathon.
Angelique Kerber defeats Annika Beck 6-4 6-0
“It was really tough match today. First of all, congrats to Annika for an amazing week, well done to her. She’s a great player with great future.
The first set was very close. It was up and down with breaks and I just tried to stay in the match, be aggressive and take my moments.”
Gael Monfils reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne for the first time after a 7-5 3-6 6-3 7-6 win over 74th ranked Andrey Kuznetsov. The Frenchman had an easy ride to the the last 8, beating Yuichi Sugita (124), Nicolas Mahut (63) and Stéphane Robert (225); but he’ll be the underdog on Wednesday as he faces in-form Milos Raonic.
Do you think Monfils can cause an upset?
Tomas Berdych reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne for the fourth time in six years, but how tough it was! He had to battle deep to get past 24th-seed Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets 4-6 6-4 6-3 1-6 6-3.
He’ll next face Roger Federer who dispatched David Goffin in three sets: 6-2 6-1 6-4.