LONDON: Milos Raonic admits his chastening Wimbledon semifinals defeat against Roger Federer shows the next generation of wannabe stars still have work to do before they can overthrow the establishment.
Raonic and fellow young gun Grigor Dimitrov have long been the most highly regarded of the group of gifted prodigies hoping to end Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray’s decade-long domination.
With both marching impressively to their maiden Grand Slam semifinals appearances this week, while Murray and Nadal both bowed out earlier than expected, there was a growing feeling that a revolution was brewing.
But those hoping to see some fresh faces holding aloft the sport’s biggest prizes will have to wait a little long after the old guard re-established their supremacy at the All England Club on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Raonic, 23, was clinically dismissed by Federer as the 17-time Grand Slam winner cruised to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory just hours after Dimitrov, 23, came up short on the big points in his 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (9/7) loss to top seed Djokovic.
It was a savage but potentially valuable experience for the pair, and Canada’s Raonic hopes they will lick their wounds and return stronger and wiser.
“I think guys have the level within themselves. It’s more just an understanding of how to deal with the situation,” he said.
“That’s something I didn’t do well today. That’s probably the thing that I can learn the most from.
“Because I believe I can put myself in the situation again, and the worst part would be to sort of have the same feeling after. I know I can do much better. That’s the most I have to take out of it.”
While Federer and Djokovic, who have 23 Grand Slams between them, have a wealth of experience of how to close out high-pressure matches, Raonic and Dimitrov are both still waiting to play in their first major finals.
“It’s obviously a situation I would have liked to have had the opportunity to experience before the semifinals, especially against Roger, who’s played triple digit matches on that court,” Raonic said.
But according to Dimitrov, his win over Murray in the quarterfinals this week and the epic triumph of Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios against Nadal earlier in the tournament should give encouragement to the youngsters.