This time feels different.
Milos Raonic’s run to the Wimbledon semifinals is purposeful. It isn’t lucky and it isn’t the end goal. Raonic has earned his spot in the final four at the All-England Club.
For years, Raonic has been the outlier; a player on the fringe. Matches against the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic have been characterized simply as measuring stick matches. With each loss, critics suggested he was no more than a powerful serve and didn’t have the skill to become one of the best, but with each loss, each win, each year on tour, Raonic and his game have evolved and matured.
At 25-years-old, Raonic is playing the best tennis of his career. It began January when he won the Brisbane title with a win over Roger Federer. Then, two weeks later in the Australian Open semifinals when he was outplaying Andy Murray, until his body betrayed him. And now, at Wimbledon, where Raonic fought from two sets to love down against David Goffin in the fourth round to win in five sets in one of the gutsiest performances of his career.
It’s been a process to get here, to get on near-equal footing. Injuries have stalled him at different times in his career and it’s been an effort to stay healthy.
Raonic has always maintained that preparation is of the utmost importance and with that, he spares no expense. That includes bringing in John McEnroe as a consultant/coach this grass court season. Is McEnroe the sole reason that Raonic is in the Wimbledon semifinals? No, but his insight and guidance on the court and between the ears is a valuable asset.
Raonic expected to be here, at the final weekend of Wimbledon. He’s prepared, he’s worked hard, and he’s ready for what’s next. But this isn’t the end.
For Raonic, a semifinal loss to Federer would be a disappointment. He wants to win. He wants to reach his first Grand Slam final and hoist the trophy on the final Sunday. He knows it’s a process. It may take time, but if in fact he does beat the seven-time Wimbledon champion on Friday, Raonic will enter a new chapter of his career.