LONDON--Milos Raonic is one step closer to the big stage.
Having started his Wimbledon career two days ago on tiny Court No. 14, capacity 312, it's noteworthy that organizers here already sensed enough interest in the Canadian bomber that his match today against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg will take place on the new Court No. 3, opened this week and christened by the Duke of Kent.
(Unlike the other three Grand Slam events in New York, Melbourne and Paris, Wimbledon doesn't name it's top courts after former stars and luminaries. Just numbers. Just the way it is, always has been and probably always will be.)
The court upon which Raonic will play today is the former site of Court No. 2 (confused yet?), nicknamed the "Graveyard of Champions" for the large number of top seeded players who met their demise at the hands of relative unknowns on that particular lawn over the years.
The two main courts, Centre Court (14,979) and Court One (11,393) are the two biggest, with the new Court No. 2 (confused again?) about double the size of No. 3. That No. 2 and No. 3 aren't next to each other adds to the confusing configuration of the grounds.
If - and it's a rather sizeable "if" - Raonic can get past the lefthanded Muller, his next match would almost certainly be on Centre Court, for it would, barring a monumental upset, be against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
The Raonic-Muller match should be underway by about 2 p.m. local time, or 9 a.m. in Toronto, but they've just announced showers are in the area and that the courts on now covered. So it may be only the roofed-in Centre Court that sees any play in the next couple of hours.
Raonic has already been on the practice courts this morning under the watchful eyes of his father, Dusan, hitting with Spain's Feliiciano Lopez, a big leftie like Muller. Raonic proved vulnerable to the left-handed Michael Berrer of Germany at this month's French Open, losing in the first round.
The two Canadian women still in the singles competition, Rebecca Marino and Stephane Dubois, are also scheduled to play. Marino has a tough match against Italian veteran Roberta Vinci, scheduled to be the fourth match on tiny Court No. 17.
Dubois is up against it with a match against the 11th seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany. That match won't begin before 5:30 local time.