Ahead of the ATP World Tour Finals, which will be played from 9 to 16 November, we come back on the season of each of the eight singles players who will take part in the Final Showdown, from number 8 to number 1.
7: Milos Raonic
A year of adjustments
Milos Raonic came really close to have to wait another year to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time.
Not that he had a bad season, far from it! After all, before the U.S. Open, he had reached quarter-finals or better in all the Masters 1000 save Madrid, made the quarter-finals at the French Open and his very first Grand Slam semifinals in Wimbledon, before winning the title in Washington.
However, the Asian swing is what nearly cost him his place in the Final Showdown. After reaching the final in Tokyo, he was forced to retire to Juan Mónaco in his Shanghai début. Upon getting back on European soil, he also lost in his Moscow début, and bowed out to David Goffin in the Basel quarters. Those results put him in a very tricky place and in a huge battle for one of the remaining London spots.
His fate changed in Paris-Bercy, where he defeated Roger Federer for the first time of his career in the quarter-finals, and after Kei Nishikori edged David Ferrer in a 2h43 marathon, it sealed his qualification among the Final Eight, making him the first Canadian in history to take part in the World Tour Finals in singles (Daniel Nestor has appeared in the Final Showdown many times in doubles).
In Paris, the man from Thornhill, Ontario, reached the second Masters 1000 final of his career, in which he was no match for an untouchable Novak Djokovic, to whom he lost 6-2, 6-3.
This season was one of adjustments for Milos Raonic. With a bigger team, to which he added a second coach, Ricardo Piatti, to work alongside him and Ivan Ljubicic, he also worked hard to bring his game beyond his powerful serve. We will see in London if Raonic can hold his own against the best of the game, or if Paris was only a streak of chance. Nevertheless, the Canadian is, without a doubt, in a good position to walk in the footsteps of his idol, Pete Sampras.
(Photos: Getty Images)