No spam ever. Unsubscribe in one click. By submitting your email address, you indicate your consent to receiving email marketing messages from us.

Raonic seeks variety under Magician, Santoro as he targets maiden Masters 1000 title

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 16 Mar 2019
  • Milos Raonic will take on Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals at Indian Wells on Saturday
  • Raonic has been working with former French tennis player, Fabrice Santoro on a one-month trial basis
Milos Raonic. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

As Milos Raonic prepares for his Indian Wells semi-final against Dominic Thiem, the big Canadian sheds more light on his partnership with former world No. 17, Fabrice Santoro.

Raonic split with former coach, Goran Ivanisevic and brought on Frenchman, Santoro just days before the start of Indian Wells. The new partnership, which is on a one-month trial basis, has certainly gone well enough so far, with the Canadian advancing to the semi-finals in their first tournament together. 

At first sight, it looks a bit of an odd union, with Raonic's big-serving, big-hitting style contrasting the Magician Santoro, who was famous for his creativity during his playing days, but maybe that's exactly what Raonic needs- someone who will add another dimension to his game. The Canadian certainly thinks so.

"More attacking, more mixing up my shots, not being predictable in the sense of not hitting the same ball twice,” Raonic said when asked about what Santoro adds to his game.

One shot Raonic and Santoro have clearly been working on is the Canadian's backhand slice, which has made quite a few appearances in California over the last fortnight. 

"Everybody moves extremely well laterally", Raonic opined. "Sometimes you can try to get glimpses of better looks by trying to bring them in a bit more".  
“Fabrice has put quite a bit of attention on it. Sometimes I do it too much, but it's a good option to have".

The former world No. 3 also spoke about spending a lot more time in the forecourt, as he continues to seek adjustments and improvements that could lead him to bigger successes on the tour. Raonic is an eight-time ATP Tour titlist, but seven of those titles have been at ATP 250 level, and the other, a 500 triumph in Washington in 2014. His best Grand Slam result remains his runner-up finish at Wimbledon in 2016, while he has also contested three Masters 1000 finals- in Montreal in 2013, Paris in 2014, and Indian Wells in 2016. 

Raonic has made the last four at Indian Wells in each of his last four appearances, and with a semi-final against Dominic Thiem to come, (he is 2-0 vs. Thiem and has won both matches in straight sets), he will like his chances of reaching another final, but looming large in a potential title match are the juggernauts Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who go head-to-head in the other semi-final. 

"It's not easy to do", Raonic said about winning Masters 1000 titles, “especially not the ones at the beginning of the year, these two [Indian Wells and Miami], because guys have a lot of time. Nobody is really rushing here. Guys can bring their best tennis.” 
" [Winning a Masters 1000 title] would be there... parallel to the Wimbledon final, if not higher, just because it's going through a week amongst the best players in the world without ending with a loss".

The Canadian has so far gone through Sam Querrey, Marcos Giron, Jan-Lennard Struff and Serbian lucky loser, Miomir Kecmanovic to reach the last four at Indian Wells- his first semi-final since June 2018, when he was runner-up to Roger Federer in Stuttgart. His career has been disrupted by injuries over the last couple of seasons, but he has made an encouraging start to 2019, opening with consecutive quarter finals in Brisbane and the Australian Open, and after a brief lull in Rotterdam and Dubai, he has put together another run at Indian Wells.

Raonic may not be the most aesthetic player on the ATP tour, but if he stays healthy, he is clearly one of the best players in the world. New coach, Santoro, who will definitely help with the aesthetics, is convinced that his charge has got the potentials to win bigger titles.

"He's a hard worker, he's very professional and he has a big ambition – so it's very easy to work with someone who works hard and has a big ambition,” Santoro told “But still, I think he didn't reach 100 per cent of his potential. He can improve a few more things, and that's why I am here.”

An Indian Wells title will be a fantastic start, but he's got to get through Thiem first, and then Federer or Nadal in the final.

Raonic vs Thiem is live from Indian Wells on Saturday, 16 March from 11:00am local time/ 6:00pm GMT. Read the full match preview.

Share this with your friends

Your comments:

Raonic seeks variety under Magician, Santoro as he targets maiden Masters 1000 title

Milos Raonic is working with Frenchman, Fabrice Santoro on a trial basis as the Canadian seeks improvements to his game. Raonic will play Dominic Thiem in the Indian Wells semi-finals on Saturday.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages