The Canadian discussed the differences between Nadal and Djokovic as returners.
Very few players can make inroads on the Milos Raonic serve when he’s running hot. And that has been the case this week at Melbourne as he has saved all seven break points he has faced en route to his fourth Australian Open quarterfinal.
But what about the game’s two best returners, what’s it like to try to hold against them?
After his straight-sets win over Marin Cilic on Day 7, Raonic was asked if his quarterfinal opponent Novak Djokovic was the toughest returner he’s ever faced. Is there anybody close to Novak, a reporter wanted to know.
Here is Raonic’s reply:
“I think Rafa is close,” he said. “I think it's two very different things. I think Rafa puts in as many returns but you sort of have a chance to swing away at the first one.
“Novak, his is a little bit more different because he goes straight through the middle so he takes away the first angle. And he stands close so there is not as much time to sort of organize yourself after.
“They both have made a hell of a career doing well in that end of the court and punishing players when they let up.”
Raonic will take an 0-9 record against Djokovic into their quarter-final tussle. He knows he needs to serve to perfection to have a shot at pulling the upset.
“I have to serve well,” he said. “[Last time we played in] Cincinnati I had more of my opportunities than most times. I think I was up a break in each set. So I have got to be sharp in those moments if I can create them and if they arise.”