LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Big-serving Canadian Milos Roanic delivered 19 aces on his way to the second round of Wimbledon on Tuesday and promised plenty more as he seeks to live up to his billing as one to watch.
The 22-year-old, whose height of nearly two metres gives him an advantage with his serve even without the attention he has given to developing it, easily beat Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-4 6-3 6-3 to set up a meeting with Dutchman Igor Sijsling.
“It’s a lot of work,” the 17th seed told Reuters in an interview when asked what the key to his strong serve was.
”I‘m fortunate enough to have a good arm, am able to serve pretty hard but I think (it has taken) a lot of work in making sure I have all the serves and that I can hit them at a high percentage and that I can hit close to the line.
“I think that’s a big thing but then also I think that even on the second serve, a serve that you need to put in most of the time, I‘m able to go for it knowing I can make it.”
He was pleased with his statistics against Berlocq, getting 71 percent of first serves in and winning 88 percent of points on his first serve, and happy with his overall performance.
“I was aggressive on the return, I was there in pretty much all his service games and I took care of my serves so check marks on pretty much the main things I wanted to achieve in the match,” he said.
Montenegro-born Roanic, who moved to Canada with his parents as a three-year-old in 1994 to escape war in the region, has reached three grand slam fourth rounds in the past two years and dreams of going even further.
Roanic has been tipped by the likes of Martina Navratilova, who has called him “a new star” and John McEnroe, who has branded him “the real deal”, to do well in the future and reckons he has what it takes to compete with the big boys.
“I’ve got to be more and more aggressive,” he said.
“I’ve got to take my chances and I think I have to go for it to beat those guys. I think I have it within myself, I don’t think I need to play outside of myself to achieve what I want to achieve, but I have to play without the fear of missing.”
He said that playing in an era when the top of the game is being dominated by Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray was a positive thing for him rather than a source of frustration that it could be hard to break through.
“It’s a good time, it forces me to push more and more,” he said. “Because when people ask me who I compare myself with and how I set my standards it’s always with those top four guys.”
Nadal is already out after a shock first-round loss on Monday but Roanic said it made no difference to him.
“It’s shocking for sure but I don’t think it has really changed too much,” he said.
“It hasn’t really opened up a section of the draw because he was already in Roger Federer’s section and he was a fifth seed which is very rare that you see Rafa as a fifth seed.” (Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Ken Ferris)