2017 Season Review: Injury-plagued Milos Raonic fails to find his form

Milos Raonic has had a year to forget and would be looking to return to his very best in 2018 after falling out of the top-20.

2017 Season Review: Injury-plagued Milos Raonic fails to find his form
Milos Raonic applauding the crowd at Wimbledon, where he reached the quarterfinals | Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe

Injury problems continued to bother Milos Raonic as he failed to back up his successes from the previous year. The Canadian, a year after reaching his maiden Grand Slam final, started 2017 on a career-high ranking of three, but soon fell outside the top-20 for the first time since 2012, ending the year as the 24th-ranked player in the world. He was also unable to claim an ATP World Tour title during the year, the first time this happened in six years.

Win-loss record: Disappointing year for the Canadian

Raonic played just a total of 41 matches in 2017, his fewest since 2008, due to his concurring injury issues. Owning a 29-12 (.707) win-loss record, the Canadian’s tiebreak was also extremely disappointing considering he only won 59 percent of them, a drastic decrease from last year’s 66. He only managed to earn one top-10 win throughout the year, which came in the first week against Nadal.

Milos Raonic in action at the Brisbane International, where he defeated Rafael Nadal for his biggest win of the year | Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac
Milos Raonic in action at the Brisbane International, where he defeated Rafael Nadal for his biggest win of the year | Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac

High Points of the season: Improved performances on clay

Raonic had a decent start to the year, reaching the semifinals at the Brisbane International and the last eight at the Australian Open. It seemed like the big-serving Canadian was on course for yet another successful season, defeating Diego Schwartzman before upsetting Rafael Nadal in three tight sets to reach the last four in Brisbane for the third consecutive year.

At the first Major of the year, Raonic clinched impressive victories over Gilles MullerGilles Simon and Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the quarterfinals for the third successive time as well. There, he lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets, with just two breaks of serve separating both players on the scoreboard.

Milos Raonic reached two Major quarterfinals during 2017 amid his injury issues, with one of them coming at the Australian Open | Photo: Jack Thomas/Getty Images AsiaPac
Milos Raonic reached two Major quarterfinals during 2017 amid his injury issues, with one of them coming at the Australian Open | Photo: Jack Thomas/Getty Images AsiaPac

The Canadian reached his first final of the year at the Delray Beach Open, defeating Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals. Raonic looked impressive all week and was the favorite to claim the title as the top seed. However, a shocking news emerged after he was forced to withdraw from the final due to a hamstring tear in his right leg, gifting the title to Jack Sock with a walkover.

Amidst a slight fall in the rankings, Raonic still went into the Istanbul Open as the top-seed. Unexpectedly, despite being given a tough draw, the Canadian ousted quality players like Aljaz Bedene and Viktor Troicki on his way to the final. There, he just fell short of the world number eight Marin Cilic, losing with a 6-7, 3-6 scoreline. Moving onto Wimbledon, Raonic still managed to impressively reach the quarterfinals, defeating 10th seed Alexander Zverev along the way. However, he failed to defend his finalist points, falling to eventual champion Roger Federer in a repeat of last year’s semifinal encounter, exiting in the last eight.

Milos Raonic served his way into the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Championships this year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Milos Raonic served his way into the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Championships this year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Low Points of the season: Injury issues

A hamstring injury forced him to give walkovers in consecutive tournaments — the final in Delray Beach while also withdrawing from his third-round match in Miami. He did not participate in Indian Wells, and his inability to defend his finalist points also caused him to drop out of the top-five.

Thought to be one of the best players on grass during this era, Raonic had a disappointing grass-court season in his standards. Being the third seed at the Queen’s Club Championships, the Canadian unexpectedly crashed out in the opening round to wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis

Disappointing exits were unfortunately common for Raonic this year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Disappointing exits were unfortunately common for Raonic this year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Visibly being plagued by an injury (this time it was his left wrist), Raonic suffered disappointing exits in Washington and Montreal. On both occasions, he fell to lower-ranked players but it was the Couple Rogers defeat which definitely hurt most as the Canadian was playing in front of his home crowd, but was defeated by world number 42 Adrian Mannarino. He then announced his withdrawal from Cincinnati and the US Open.

Returning in action at the Japan Open, Raonic seemed invincible during his first-round win against Viktor Troicki but he had to retire during his next match, this time citing a calf injury, walking off the court in tears after playing just one game. It has been an unfortunate year for Raonic, who sustained three different injuries throughout the year. Ultimately, he ended his season early, withdrawing from his final two events of 2017.

Milos Raonic receiving treatment for a calf injury which effectively ended his year | Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images AsiaPac
Milos Raonic receiving treatment for a calf injury which effectively ended his year | Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images AsiaPac

Season Grade: C

It has been a relatively poor season for Raonic, who only had his injuries to blame. After ending his season earlier than expected, the Canadian would only hope that his 2018 will be injury-free and will look to make a rise in the rankings, starting the new year in the 24th position of the rankings.