Canadians impress but remain divided on Wimbledon's grass

Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:38pm EDT
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By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) - A few of the past Wimbledon champions watching this year's tournament would disagree, but big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic reckons grass courts do not allow for great tennis.

Raonic and compatriot Eugenie Bouchard, a fan of the grass, both advanced to the third round on Thursday, in what is now a regular strong showing at grand slams by Canadian players.

Boasting a game that looks tailor-made for the silky All England Club lawns, a monstrous first serve and clubbing groundstrokes, 23-year-old Raonic slammed the surface despite progressing further in the tournament than ever before.

"I don't think, really, that's it's a surface anybody can say they play their best tennis on," Raonic, who beat American Jack Sock 6-3 6-4 6-4, told reporters.

"I think it's a matter of playing less worse than you do on other surfaces."

Seasoned Wimbledon watchers would disagree, pointing rightly to the sublime entertainment served up by the likes of past masters John McEnroe and Boris Becker - both three-time champions here - and this year's fourth seed Roger Federer, who is gunning for an eighth Wimbledon title.

Raonic's occasional mixed doubles partner Bouchard is another who disagrees. The 20-year-old tipped as the next Maria Sharapova eased past Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa 7-5 6-1 to demonstrate her grasscourt potential.

"When I'm not slipping and falling, I enjoy it," said Bouchard, who already has two grand slam semi-finals under her belt this year. "I think it suits my game and it rewards a player who takes it early and tries to move forward."   Continued...

Milos Raonic of Canada hits a return to Jack Sock of the U.S. during their men's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 26, 2014.                REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth