No. 6 seed Milos Raonic insisted it wasn't easy playing against rising American star J. J. Wolf in the St. Petersburg first round. Wolf, ranked at No. 123 in the world, made it past the St. Petersburg qualifying event to clinch a main draw place.
Raonic struggled a bit in the first set but still managed to clinch a straight-set win over Wolf 7-6 (5) 6-1. "It was very difficult playing somebody that already had two matches to play this week, had more opportunity to get used to the conditions here, and also somebody that I felt was playing pretty aggressive and free," Raonic said after the match, per Max Gao.
Raonic saved five set points on his serve in the 10th game of the first set. "For me, it was important that I saved those five set points. I came with the right approach and I was able to get better as the match went on," Raonic noted.
Raonic says these times require lots of adjusting
After losing in the US Open second round, Raonic traveled to Europe and played on the clay courts of the Rome Masters. In Rome, Raonic failed to impress as he was beaten in the second round by Serb Dusan Lajovic.
Raonic, a former world No. 3, then decided to skip the French Open. "It was more a scheduling decision that was my motivation between deciding [to withdraw from Roland Garros]. I haven’t played on clay the last 2 years and I felt two weeks on clay to prepare to play 3 out of 5 sets was not the smartest choice for my body," Raonic explained.
The ATP suspended the tennis season mid-March and the Tour restarted in late-August at the Cincinnati Masters, which was held in New York. Raonic says it's all far from perfect but he is happy to be in a position to compete.
"At the end of the day, I think for us as players to have the possibility to play is the most important thing ‘cause tennis is always gonna be one of the more difficult sports to organize in this pandemic," Raonic underlined.
"I just don’t see this being a way of life that’s gonna change anytime soon. I know everybody thinks it’s gonna be until the end of this year and this kind of thing in the tennis world, but I think this is gonna continue much longer."