Wednesday night in Memphis was a real treat for us tennis fans. After playing in the Finals in San Jose just days earlier, Fernando Verdasco and Milos Raonic battled it out again, but this time at the 500 level tournament of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships.
The tennis was incredible, but especially because I had never seen either of these two men play live before. I already knew of Verdasco’s talent, but Raonic is really just emerging on the “big” scene and the boy just downright impresses me in more ways than one.
At 6’5″, Raonic’s serve is an absolute bomb. One bomb exploding after another, just frustrating Verdasco to no end. Fernando just kept putting his head down in disbelief not knowing how to combat his opponent. All the while, Milos just had this devilish grin on his face looking like he had no care in the world, just a walk in Central Park for him. If he felt pressure, he certainly didn’t show it on the court. Always composed was Milos.
Furthermore, Raonic moves around the court like someone who is so much smaller than 6’5″. He gets from one side of the court to the other with relative ease and typically can do something pretty impressive with the ball once he gets there. Not only this, but the kid is so composed. He is a 20-year-old that behaves well beyond his years for sure. In today’s presser after his match with Stepanek, Milos was unflappable, soft-spoken and very confident. So far my impression of him is that he is a CLASS act on and off the court.
But speaking of pressers, Verdasco on the other hand, looked like he had been run over by a Mach truck. Also, soft-spoken, but I think because of the defeat more so than his personality. He kept his head down much of the time and not really having an answer for what happened. He just kept saying “was not a tennis match for me, no. Just serves, no rallies. Was not a tennis match for me. I want to play him on clay…” But he did offer up a laugh after that comment which kept a little levity in the room.
To sum it up, I think that Verdasco will do a lot of soul-searching as he heads down with his team to Acapulco trying to figure out how this kid got the best of him twice in one week. Meanwhile, Raonic will figure out how he can stomp out his next opponent, Robert Kendrick, who he said defeated him in Vancouver last year 6 and 4. He also said that he is a different, fitter, more improved player so he is expecting to give him a better match this time around. Next tournament for Raonic: Davis Cup vs Mexico