For big serving Raonic, ‘this one’s going to sting’
Raonic could never get the upper hand against Murray in the Wimbledon final
Milos Raonic blasted a first serve at 147 mph, the fastest delivery of the entire tournament, only for the ball to come rifling back across the net. Not only did Andy Murray make the return, he went on to win the point with a cross-court backhand passing shot.
It was that kind of day for Raonic, who could never get the upper hand against Murray in the Wimbledon final, losing in straight sets in the 25-year-old Canadian’s first Grand Slam title match.
Murray broke Raonic only once, but never lost his own serve and dominated both tiebreakers to win 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2), securing his second Wimbledon title and third major championship.
“This one’s going to sting,” Raonic said after accepting the runner-up trophy. The 6-foot-5 (1.98-meter) Raonic, one of the top servers in the game, came up short against one of the top returners and defensive players in tennis.
Raonic came into the final with a tournament-high 154 aces, averaging more than 20 per match. But he finished with just eight on Saturday, one more than Murray. The second-seeded British player repeatedly managed to make returns off serves of more than 130 mph and 140 mph – including that 147 mph delivery at 4-all in the first set.
“Every single time you play him, you know he’s going to get more returns back than anybody else, alongside with Novak (Djokovic),” Raonic said. “That’s what these two guys, especially, do.”
Raonic also struggled in rallies to break down Murray, who chased down shots in the corners to keep the ball in play, and hit a series of cross-court passing winners off the backhand wing.
“I tried to put the things together,” Raonic said. “I tried coming forward, putting pressure on him. He was playing much better than me off the baseline. He was more effective there. I was keeping up with him. But then when it counted, I wasn’t able to get on top.”
That included the second-set tiebreaker, when Raonic missed an easy forehand volley on the first point and then failed to put away a smash to fall behind 4-1.
“I missed that ball, the short ball, on the first one,” Raonic said. “Wasn’t even close. Missed into the middle of the net. Then I had an overhead that I didn’t make the most of on my serve. I’ll sort of look back at that with not too much joy.”
Then, in the fifth game of the third set, Raonic had his first, and only, chance to break. With Murray serving at 2-2, Raonic ripped a forehand winner off an 82 mph second serve to give him two break points at 15-40.
But Raonic couldn’t handle a deep first serve on the first and netted a forehand return. On the second, he hit a backhand into the net. Murray followed with a backhand passing shot and a 117 mph serve winner to hold. Raonic never saw another break point.
“Obviously it does come down a lot of the time to a few important points,” he said. “That was probably the most clear look I had. I had a sense that if I could have gotten ahead there, maybe I could have turned it around a bit.”
Raonic was seeking to become the first player representing Canada to win a Grand Slam title. The only other Canadian, man or woman, to get to a major final was Eugenie Bouchard, the women’s runner-up at Wimbledon in 2014.
Looking ahead, Raonic said he will take strength from his five-set semifinal win over seven-time champion Roger Federer.
“I stepped up,” he said. “I did a great thing there. Came back from two sets to love down, which is a first time or me. I showed guts. I showed vigor. I got to carry that through to the next events.”