Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Raonic Making History on Canadian Tennis Scene Ahead of Wimbledon Final

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Raonic Making History on Canadian Tennis Scene Ahead of Wimbledon Final

Article excerpt

Raonic making waves on Canadian tennis scene

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LONDON - Milos Raonic is making history and other Canadian tennis players are taking notice.

The hard-serving player from Thornhill, Ont., will become the first Canadian man to play for a Grand Slam title when he takes on Andy Murray in Sunday's Wimbledon final.

Raonic got there in impressive fashion, beating Swiss superstar Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinal on Friday.

"It's something no one could ever have imagined 25 years ago when I started out," said Toronto's Daniel Nestor, an eight-time Grand Slam doubles champion. "Milos is remarkable because he has the desire to always improve and has done all the necessary things to be a complete player.

"If he plays like he did in first and fifth sets (against Federer), not only will he be Wimbledon champion but also No. 1 in the world at this time next year."

Raonic, seeded sixth at Wimbledon and ranked seventh in the world, is part of a blossoming tennis scene in Canada that also includes Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil (No. 44), and 22-year-old Eugenie Bouchard (No. 48) of Westmount, Que.

The 25-year-old Raonic had a career high ranking of No. 4 in May, 2015, Bouchard topped out at No. 5 after making the 2014 Wimbledon final and Pospisil, who won the 2014 Wimbledon doubles title, reached No. 25 in singles in January, 2014.

From the 1960s until into the 2000s, Canadians with hopes of international success would usually head south to Florida or California for training, or to American colleges on tennis scholarships.

The turnaround happened about 10 years ago when Louis Borfiga left the French Tennis Federation, where he had worked with players like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon, to become Tennis Canada's vice president of high performance athlete development.

Borfiga, who's based in Montreal, helped arrange for former tour players to coach young Canadians: Spain's Galo Blanco for Raonic, France's Nathalie Tauziat for Bouchard, and France's Fred Fontang for Pospisil. …

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