Why Canadian pair Bouchard & Raonic are The New Force in Tennis


Michael Downey must be regretting his move from Canada to the UK. The new boss of Britain's Lawn Tennis Association, who used to run Tennis Canada, couldn't have timed his transatlantic leap more badly.

He arrives in London and weeks later, just as Andy Murray limps out of Wimbledon in the quarter-finals, three players from the Great White North combine to produce the greatest Grand Slam performance Canada has ever witnessed. Downey is feeling down on his luck, to say the least.

Now that the professional tours are moving across the Pond for the North American hard court swing, those three players ¬– Eugenie Bouchard (Wimbledon runner-up), Pospisil (doubles champion) and Milos Raonic (semi-finalist) – can build on their existing success.

Given a good run in front of excited home crowds (Raonic and Pospisil are both playing in Toronto while Bouchard is in Montreal), there’s no reason why all three shouldn’t achieve a career-high ranking before the summer is out. 

And there’s nothing like a home-crowd advantage. Just ask the Brazilians. (Oops!) Of the three players, Raonic is arguably most impressive – mainly thanks to his incredible serve. 

He’s by no means a one-hit wonder and backs up his service game with some blinding groundstrokes. But it’s his flagship serve that gives opponents the most trouble. 

His 6ft 5ins stature certainly helps. When players serve they whip the energy in a swift lever-motion up from their legs through their torso, into their arms and out through the racket head. Look at the length of Raonic’s levers and you understand why his whipping motion is so extreme.

So that’s how he gets the speed. But there are other factors at play. He can deliver service balls with pinpoint precision. Like all top players, he can serve them flat, with slice or with topspin. But unlike all top players, he masks his intentions quite brilliantly.

Most big servers vary their ball toss depending on the type of serve they’re after. Not Raonic. He normally uses the same ball toss whether he’s going for a flat, sliced or kick serve. And that confounds his opponents.

There’s also an element of unpredictability to Bouchard’s game. The 20-year-old from Montreal loves to change direction and speed at the drop of a hat. That, and the way she attacks the balls early, while they’re still on the rise, makes her a tough proposition, as many players discovered to their chagrin at Wimbledon.

What about Pospisil then? The 24-year-old from British Columbia (but now enjoying the tax benefits of the Bahamas) follows in the footsteps of Canadian doubles legend Daniel Nestor. But, unlike his 41-year-old forerunner who must surely retire soon, Pospisil has youth on his side. And as established doubles partnerships struggle to get a handle on this relative newcomer to the doubles top 100, youth can be a wonderful weapon.

So how will these Canadians fare in next month’s US Open? Raonic is seventh favourite to win at 26.00 while Bouchard is fourth equal favourite at 9.00.

The US Open starts on August 25. Bet on the men's and women's winner now!