LONDON--Milos Raonic figures his parents are using the carrot-and-stick approach.
Neither his father nor mother are in town for the beginning of his second assault on Wimbledon, but might be around by the end of the week.
"They have things to take care of," he smiled today after a morning workout on the practice courts at the All-England Club. "They may come if I do well. I think they're trying to motivate me."
Raonic hit today with Spanish star David Ferrer for about an hour before being displaced by Roger Federer and Jarkko Nieminen. On an adjacent court, Rafael Nadal was going through his paces, while Andy Murray trudged on to a nearby court followed by the usual phalanx of cameras that greet his every move at this event. The practice courts are open to the public, and the buzz of Wimbledon on these courts as the tournament begins is unique.
With the first day competition beginning on the main courts, Raonic and Ferrer hit on a warm English morning, and played some games as well, with Raonic's coach Galo Blanco looking on. Raonic and Blanco are both convinced that a loss on grass to Federer earlier this month in Germany was largely the result of the young Canadian playing one of his poorest matches of the year.
"I served well. That's about it," said Raonic good-naturedly.
He gets Colombia's Santiago Giraldo in the first round on Tuesday, a player who has beaten Raonic in their only previous meeting, a Davis Cup clash on clay in 2010.
Raonic has his team of Blanco, a physiotherapist and a trainer set up in a house near Wimbledon, plus a friend from Toronto, and looks set for his best run in a Grand Slam event yet. He won his first match last year against Marc Giquel before being injured in his second match against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
Raonic's father, Dusan, was at the All-England Club from the start of the tournament last year. For the most part, Raonic's parents are rarely seen, very different from players like Murray and Novak Djokovic. Nadal, of course, is coached by his Uncle Toni, and a large contingent of family supporters, including his parents, were at Roland Garros early this month to see him capture his seventh French Open title.