Raonic starts new year with ace blitz

Thu Jan 8, 2015 4:11am EST
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By Julian Linden

BRISBANE (Reuters) - There are no real secrets to the success of rising tennis star Milos Raonic. The towering Canadian has a booming serve that is one of the most dangerous weapons in the game.

Last year, he served 954 aces, third overall behind Ivo Karlovic and John Isner. After just one match this year, he already has 17, an ominous warning that his delivery is getting even harder to handle.

Less than two months after he limped out of the ATP Finals with a leg injury, Raonic made an eye-popping return at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

The third seed hardly broke sweat on a hot and humid day as he ruthlessly dispatched of Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin, firing aces seemingly at will past his bewildered opponent.

"I served well," Raonic said, without any hint of understatement as he prepares for this month's Australian Open.

"We finished last year and we definitely thought I could do a lot better with my serve, so we spent a lot of time on it and I'm happy that it's going well."

While still packing plenty of heavy artillery in his game, Raonic spent most of the off-season working on the other parts of his game.

By his own admission, the 24-year-old needs to add more variety and develop a tougher mental approach if he wants to break through for a first grand slam win.   Continued...