Last month, Milos Raonic was an unknown.
The 6-foot-5, 20-year old Canadian was ranked No. 152 and had competed in just a handful of ATP Tour events.
Then came his jaw-dropping performance at the Australian Open where he bombarded unsuspecting opponents with what will soon become – if it isn’t already – the best serve on tour. (Raonic leads the ATP with 303 aces in 2011. Second best is Andy Roddick with 221.)
Raonic had to qualify for the Australian Open, but once in he quickly garnered attention. He beat Bjorn Phau in the first round before defeating No. 22 seed Michael Llodra, becoming the first Canadian male in 10 years to reach the third round of a Grand Slam. (I’m reminded of the Larry Walker quote equating being the best Canadian baseball player was like being the tallest midget in the world. Raonic is far from a midget.) Raonic then beat No. 10 seed Mikhail Youzhny in the third round, becoming the first qualifier to make the fourth round of a Grand Slam since 1999.
Seventh-seed David Ferrer took him out in four sets, but Raonic left a lasting impression on tennis dignitaries, with Johnny Mac tweeting he was “the real deal” and Martina Navratilova declaring he was a “future star.”
Milos received a wild card to the SAP Open in San Jose and subsequently won the event without dropping a set, defeating top-seed Fernando Verdasco in the final.
On Sunday, Raonic nearly won his second straight title in as many weeks before narrowly losing to the luckiest man alive, Andy Roddick 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (11-13), 7-5.
Now, Raonic has risen from No. 152 in the world to No. 37.
“A lot of things have come quickly. I’m happy about it and hope I can keep it going more than six weeks,” Raonic told ESPN.
I think it’s safe to say this Milos won’t have to pimp his wife out to Jerry.