Milos Raonic breaks an ATP Tour aces record against Cameron Norrie at Queen's


Milos Raonic played 110 points on his first serve against Cameron Norrie at Queen’s Club in London on Monday.

42 percent of those points started and ended with serves that Norrie could not get near.

Raonic’s 47 aces broke the ATP Tour record for a three-set match, and broke the Briton too, propelling the Canadian and former Wimbledon finalist to victory, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-6(9). After the match Raonic said “with the scoreline, and having to save match points, I probably needed every single one of those. My serve’s always been the most important shot to me.

“I’m glad that behind that also stands a win, because maybe I’d feel differently or maybe a bit more sour if I was to get that many free points and lose the match.”

Milos Raonic’s record-setting serving against Cameron Norrie, compared to 52-week ATP Tour averages

Raonic Tour avg. Diff.

Aces in three sets on grass

47

7.5

+526.7%

First-serve accuracy (cm)

41

58

+29.3%

First-serve speed (mph)

132

118

+11.9%

First-serve in percentage (%)

69

62

+11.3%

Source: Tennis Viz / Tennis Data Innovations

Most remarkable (outside of smashing through the average aces for a three-set-match on grass, which is already the most favourable surface for servers) is Raonic’s placement of those serves. The serve accuracy metric used by Tennis Viz tracks how close to the side or centre service lines each serve bounces, taking body serves — which will land nearer the middle of the service box, laterally speaking — out of the equation. In one game, Raonic hit three serves in succession so tight to the centre service line, or “T,” that Norrie barely saw it worth his while to move.

Afterwards, Norrie said that he knew what was coming. He just couldn’t do anything about it.

“I think even before the match I said he’s probably got the best serve I have ever faced,” he said.

“He has all the spots. My coach told me a little bit, maybe try cover the slice on the second serve, and I think he hit six or seven aces the other way after that. So it’s tough.”

In sending down those 47 aces, Raonic broke a record previously held by Ivo Karlovic, who hit 45 aces (also on grass) against another former Wimbledon finalist, Tomas Berdych, at Halle in Germany in 2015.

Milos Raonic has set the record for most aces in a best-of-three-sets ATP Tour match since 1991

Player Opponent Tournament Year Aces

Milos Raonic

Cameron Norrie

Queen’s

2024

47

Ivo Karlovic

Tomas Berdych

Halle

2015

45

John Isner

Wu Yibing

Dallas

2023

44

Nick Kyrgios

Ryan Harrison

Brisbane

2019

44

Ivo Karlovic

Daniel Brands

Zagreb

2014

44

Reilly Opelka

John Isner

New York

2019

43

Reilly Opelka

Brayden Schnur

New York

2019

43

John Isner

Gilles Muller

Queen’s

2016

43

Mardy Fish

Olivier Rochus

Lyon

2007

43

Source: ATP Tour

Raonic’s serving prowess surprised even an expert in the biomechanical complexity of the motion, which looks so fluid and effortless when done right, but is in reality a complex kinetic chain, in which the slightest break is incredibly detrimental. Gavin MacMillan, the serve guru who helped turn Aryna Sabalenka’s serve from a disaster, to one one of the most dangerous weapons in the game, pored over Raonic’s statistics from the Norrie match with amazement.

He thought he was reading something wrong when he saw that his fellow Canadian had averaged 132 mph on his first serve and 118 on his second, and that he had lost just 11 points on his first serve the entire match. He always knew Raonic had a potentially lethal serve, but this was next level.

MacMillan said he is not a huge fan of Raonic’s wind-up, the way he “overcocks his wrists” and gets his arms so far out in front. “It hides the motion and what he does so well, and then people try to teach it,” MacMillan said of the start of the serve.

Everything else, though, is textbook — the way Raonic gets his left arm up, and turns his hand and gets that arc running from his front hip to his front shoulder before he snaps his body forward. Being 6-foot-7 helps, too.

“It’s all about the rotational torque,” MacMillan said. “You look at the position of his front shoulder and his arm and his hip and he does it at such a huge size. Watch out.”

That said, all those 47 aces later, Raonic still needed to win a third-set tiebreak and save two match points; that tiebreak went to 11-9. Out of 27 pressure points he faced on serve in the match, Raonic won 11 with aces. He was just one point away from winning the equivalent of two consecutive 6-0, or bagel sets, which would require 48 points won, with aces alone, and he’d ended up scrapping for the win to the end.

“Good for Norrie for hanging in there,” MacMillan said.

— Additional reporting by The Athletic’s Charlie Eccleshare.

(Top photo: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)





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