It is typical for hype surrounding young talent to get
out of hand on the tennis grapevine, and it is hardly surprising to see people
getting overly excited about Milos Raonic's capabilities.
Raonic has all the physical attributes to become the
real deal, and his emergence could not have been more welcome in the men's
The Canadian has taken his time to come through the
system, but certainly made everyone sit up and listen at the Australian Open.
Raonic has an enormous serve, and stunned a few people
in Melbourne with his belligerent and extremely direct approach to the game.
The trouble with tennis is that you cannot be a hunter
or surprise everyone for very long: sooner or later, you will come unstuck.
For Raonic, it was in the fourth round in Melbourne
when he was outclassed from the back of the court by the wily David Ferrer, but
the good thing is he was undeterred by that defeat.
The 20-year-old has all the weapons you need to hit
the upper echelons of the men's game, with a huge forehand and a serve which
will always keep his opponents on the back foot.
However, I have to add at this juncture that Raonic is
never going to be in the same league as his mentor, Pete Sampras.
The starlet has credited the 14-times Grand Slam
champion with giving him crucial tips in his impressive run at the San Jose
Open, predictably leading many to compare the two players.
Raonic may well be a top-20 player, maybe even a
top-10 player, but he is never going to achieve even a quarter of what the
American did over his glittering career.
The Canadian is going to have to develop quite
considerably in the mental side of the game, but his raw talents alone make him
dangerous for the time being.
He appears to be a very quick learner, but the way I
judge young players is how they react to defeats and slip-ups: that is how they
distinguish and define themselves ultimately.
Moving on to another young star now - Britain's
prodigious talent, George Morgan.
The Englishman is another who possesses a quite
monstrous first serve, the like of which prompts gasps from spectators around
the junior circuit.
Morgan has absolutely everything going for him: a full
repertoire of powerful groundstrokes and an extraordinarily big game.
I don't wish to put excessive pressure on the
18-year-old, but what you can say for sure is that he is going to make some
waves in the men's game.
Morgan is an enormously talented player who holds
nothing back when pounding fierce blows from the back of the court, and his
power is quite startling for a man his age.
It is simply hoped that the Brit can fulfil his
talent, cope with the pressure at Wimbledon, and finally shoulder some of the
immense media scrutiny centred solely on Andy Murray right now.
As for the WTA Tour, it is all about the emergence of
Petra Kvitova for me.
The Czech star looks to be a mature woman who copes
extremely well with the travails of life on tour, and mentally she is all
I can certainly see Kvitova taking a Grand Slam, even
as early as this year, and she has every weapon in her locker.
She is fiercely determined, and can always be relied
upon to leave everything out on the court: with quite a few flaky, temperamental
players on the women's tour, that consistency will hold her in very good stead.
Kvitova has everything in her artillery to challenge
the dominant Kim Clijsters in Grand Slams, and she has the rest of the season
to demonstrate that: it should be an intriguing year.
- Milos Raonic