Milos Raonic on why Canada is seeing success in new Davis Cup format

Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil talks about Canada advancing to the Final 4 at the Davis Cup Finals.

Big servers are having a ball at the Davis Cup Finals. The indoor hard court combined with the fast Dunlop tennis balls have made conditions ideal for hard-hitters.

You think Milos Raonic has a little case of FOMO?

Raonic is in Boston rehabbing his injured back, and he’s been keeping a close eye on his teammates, who on Thursday clinched Canada’s third-ever Davis Cup semifinals appearance.

“It’s exciting,” Raonic said of Tennis Canada’s success in Madrid. “It’s the best it’s ever been. And I think it’s only going to continue to get better.”

Canada has now won eight of its last nine Davis Cup ties played on hard court, and Raonic believes this new tournament format could be advantageous to his team going forward.

“By the sounds of it, at least at this point, (the Finals) are always going to be on hard court which will always help us,” Raonic said. “And playing two out of three on the same day, for us we have a very deep lineup. We have four guys in the top 100 now, Vasek (Pospisil) belongs to be there too.

“There’s a lot of versatility there.”

Raonic told Sportsnet he’s especially happy for Pospisil’s success. “It’s incredible. He played well (at an October ATP event) in Shanghai but most Canadians won’t see that right because of the time difference. He’s showed a lot of grit, a lot of fight.”

Raonic has gone nearly a full month without hitting a single serve and only lightly hitting a few tennis balls on occasion. He said he wants to give his back a chance to “really calm down” with the goal being training towards the end of the short tennis off-season.

“I’m feeling good, I’m getting better, but it’s been a tough season for me,” Raonic said. “But I’m in as good of a place as I can be now.”

And despite another year of injury trouble, he’s convinced a return to the upper echelon of the sport is possible.

“That’s what motivates me. That’s what keeps me going,” Raonic said. “I think I’m a much better tennis player today than I was in 2016 (when he made the Wimbledon Final). I just have to find a way to give myself and my body the freedom to compete, the freedom to go on court and focus strictly on my tennis.”

His teammate Pospisil has found that freedom at the end of 2019, we’ll see if Raonic can find it in 2020.

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