Ace Raonic has Nadal in his sights

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Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal said his biggest fear on grasscourts was facing a huge server so he will be keeping a careful eye on Milos Raonic over the next few days.

Montenegro-born Canadian Raonic, one of the hottest properties on the ATP Tour this year, crashed down 25 aces in a 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-3 win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel on Monday to reach the second round of the grasscourt grand slam.

The 20-year-old Raonic has risen from outside the top 150 to 31st seed at Wimbledon this year, with more than 500 aces fuelling his rapid rise up the rankings.

Should he beat Luxembourg's Gilles Muller in the second round his mighty delivery will be directed at Nadal and the Spaniard will have every right to be a little concerned.

Former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe identified Raonic, who looks not unlike his boyhood idol Pete Sampras, as a player capable of doing damage on Wimbledon's lawns and his view will not have been altered by Monday's showing.

Raonic, whose rise has been so rapid that he does not even feature in the ATP Tour media guide, was only looking as far as Muller on Monday but is clearly a player going places.

"I know that I want to achieve a lot bigger things, and I'm going to put the pressure on myself right away from the beginning," Raonic, who appears mature beyond his years despite his boyish looks, told reporters on Monday.

Seven-time Wimbledon winner Sampras had won most of his grand slam titles by the time Raonic began taking an interest in the American, but there are similarities in style, not least the serve which appears tailor-made for Wimbledon's skiddy grass.

"I'm liking it a lot,' said Raonic, who announced himself at the top level by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open and then reaching consecutive finals in Memphis and San Jose. "It's a certain part of the season and the year that I look very much forward to. I think it's been fun.

"I grew up watching Sampras win here so many times. I think from that it also has a pretty big meaning to me. I think it's a pretty special tournament.

"The best players find a way to win here."

Despite playing in the main draw at Wimbledon for the first time, Raonic, who moved to Canada from Montenegro as a three-year-old, was not setting any limits on his progress - even if 10-time grand slam champion Nadal is waiting in round three.

"If it does get to that, I think it's a good opportunity, and I think it's something to look forward to," Raonic said.

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