NEWS

Milos Raonic to play in Aegon Championships

March 21, 2017

Milos Raonic has been unveiled as the latest big-name player to feature in this summer's Aegon Championships.

The towering Canadian is an outstanding grass court player and he proved it last year as he reached the final of the event at the Queen's Club. Having won the first set against Andy Murray, he was eventually overcome by the Scot, who went on to defeat him again in the final of the Championships, Wimbledon three weeks later.

With Murray in superb form at the time and on his way to becoming the world number one, Raonic could not have come up against a harder opponent. Nevertheless, having reached his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon last year, the 26-year-old is a clear contender for the sport's highest honours and finished last year ranked third in the world.

Describing his ambition to "go one better this time," Raonic said of the Aegon Championships: "It's a great tournament with more than a century of history, so to be so close to victory last year was a really special experience.

"At the same time I feel like, as well as Andy played in the final, it’s one that got away from me and I want to try to put that right this year. It is also a great way to be in the best shape on grass as Andy and I showed last year by reaching the Wimbledon final three weeks after Queen’s last year."

Murray has committed to playing at the Queen's Club for the rest of his career, while fans booking corporate hospitality can also enjoy the talents of US Open champion Stan Wawrinka, 14-time grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and, in the doubles, Andy Murray's brother Jamie, himself a world number one.

More big names are likely to be added to the list as the event nears, with over half of the world's top 20 featuring last year.

Wawrinka has certainly been in good form recently, reaching the final of the BNP Paribas Open last weekend before losing the final 6-4, 7-5 to Roger Federer. Wawrinka has only won three of the 23 meetings between the two Swiss stars, but success on the lush lawns of the Queen's Club could pave the way for Wawrinka to do better should he meet his compatriot at Wimbledon. With the grass court Grand Slam the only one the 32-year-old has not yet won, it must surely be a priority for a man hoping that he can at least emulate Federer in one respect.

Federer's victory at Indian Wells, which came after he beat Nadal on the way to the final, suggests his stunning triumph at the Australian Open was no fluke and, at the age of 35, he is back to his best. While he normally warms up for Wimbledon by playing at Halle in Germany, his rivals playing in the Aegon Championships will hope they can make the most of the superb courts and facilities of a tournament the ATP has voted the best in its class in each of the last three years. 

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