Will Raonic Challenge For No. 1 in 2017?
World No. 3 takes in sights before opening round match
But before he takes the court for his first match of the season, the top seed and defending champion made time to take in the sights of this world-class city. Raonic boarded a CityCat cruise around the Brisbane River on Tuesday and met Adrian Schrinner, the city’s Deputy Mayor.
“It's great to be back here. This is the most ideal way for us, as tennis players, to start off an Australian summer,” said Raonic. “Having five of the Top 10 players here is of great significance. It’s obviously a great show not only of the kind of support that we have here in Brisbane, but also the quality of the tournament and the fact that players believe this is the most ideal way to start. They feel the comfort of being here many years over and over again.”
Having received a first-round bye, the World No. 3 will play the winner between Sam Querrey and Diego Schwartzman. Raonic is even with Querrey in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 2-2, but has won their past two matches.
Raonic cut his year-end Emirates ATP Ranking from No. 14 to No. 3 last year, and in his final event of the year, the ATP World Tour Finals, he pushed World No. 2 Novak Djokovic to 7-6, 7-6 and held match point against World No. 1 Andy Murray.
Asked if he could join Murray and Djokovic in the battle for No. 1 in 2017, Raonic said, "I hope so, that's the goal. It's about going out there every single week trying to give myself physically and mentally the best possibility to win and compete against these guys in the biggest events.
"They have a consistency that has been unmatched over the past few seasons; hopefully I can step up and show that consistency as well."
Talking about his decision to add former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek to his coaching team, Raonic said, “It was about the intentions he believes I need to do with my game to take the next step forward, especially against the top guys. We’re looking for a bit more aggression, a bit more progress forward to the net to keep the guys off balance and take it to them.”
The Canadian has thrived in Brisbane throughout his career, posting a 7-2 career record in his three appearances. He also finished runner-up at this event in 2015 (l. Federer).
This will be Raonic’s first match with 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek as part of his coaching team. The Dutchman will also work alongside Riccardo Piatti, who has been with the Canadian since 2014.