The score of the BNP Paribas Open final between Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic – 6-2, 6-0 – was brutal. After an impressive Indian Wells run of five matches that included wins over No. 7 Tomas Berdych and No. 16 Gael Monfils, Raonic lost his serve in the opening game and it was downhill from there against the world No. 1.

Later he would say that he felt something “after a few games” in the right adductor muscle that kept him out of action for five weeks following the Australian Open. So the one-sided ultimate result of the match needs to be placed in context.

The injury, which originated while he was winning the third set of the Aussie Open semifinal to take a two-sets-to-one lead over Andy Murray, wound up being serious.

Two weeks ago in Indian Wells, Raonic went into detail about it, saying:

“About 20 hours after the match I got an ultrasound and it showed that it was strained and maybe some edema in the muscle. I didn’t really think too much about it. I rehabbed it and that kind of stuff right after but only when I played basketball for the first time to get ready (for the Celebrity game on NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto Feb. 12-14), it was really painful and that’s when I got an MRI and I found that I had more than a three-centimetre tear in my adductor and a little bit of a tear further up on the insertion (in the bone) and some kind of chronic damage that was more aggravated in my glute.”

Nothing about that sounds good so, when he felt something in the final especially with the best player in tennis across the net and in view of the injuries (and a foot surgery) he suffered last year, it’s easy to understand a conscious or subconscious instinct not to make it any worse. Afterward he described the feeling as “similar but not as bad.”


There has to be some doubt about his participation in this week’s Miami Open – he has a bye and then would have to start either Friday or Saturday against the winner of a match between young Korean Hyeon Chung and American Denis Kudla, with Jack Sock possibly waiting in the third round.

Thinking about the re-aggravated injury, it’s interesting to note that Genie Bouchard lost her third match – to a lights-out performance by Hungarian Timea Babos – in her first tournament (a partial match in Beijing last fall notwithstanding) in Shenzen, China in early January after a long break following her concussion. It makes you wonder if going all the way to the final and then having to face the ultimate challenge in tennis – Djokovic – was just too much too soon for Raonic. Of course a player always tries to do the best he or she can, but six matches at a high-quality tournament like the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells is an awfully demanding test right off the hop.     

Djokovic broke serve in five of his seven return games on Sunday – something that, despite the Serb’s sublime returning, is difficult to imagine happening if his opponent had been completely fit.

It was commendable that Raonic made no mention of the injury – although Djokovic did – during the post-match presentation ceremonies.

Reaching the final, after being in the semifinal a year ago, earned Raonic an extra 240 points (600 to 360) and moved his ranking from No. 14 to No. 12.

If he does play the Miami Open, he will be defending 90 ATP ranking points after getting to the round-of-16 last year before losing 6-7(3), 7-6(6), 7-6(5) to John Isner in a match that featured zero service breaks.


On Monday, Raonic posted the following on his Instagram account:

Bouchard is poised


After she lost a close match to Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open, Genie Bouchard answered a question about her immediate future.

Q. You must be aware that last year here was the start of bad times for you.

BOUCHARD: (Smiles) Thanks for the reminder.

Q. Does it make you kind of feel good that everything now is almost a bonus for the next few months?

BOUCHARD: I try not to think about points and last year in general. I’m over analyzing all the horrible things that happened last year. I’m just looking forward to really taking it one week at a time, especially since I started the year. I really had no expectations. I could not look forward to really anything.

One week at a time is really how I’m doing it. I feel like I have made good steps this year. I just want to train a little bit and get ready for a great tournament in Miami and keep going.

Bouchard has certainly made solid progress – in fact after the first two-and-a-half months of the 2016 season, she has the third-most wins on tour:

  1. Agnieszka Radwanska   17-3
  2. Victoria Azarenka           16-1
  3. Eugenie Bouchard          15-6

In the period between Indian Wells a year ago and when the 2015 US Open started on August 31st , Bouchard went 3-15 and her only wins were over No. 34 Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in Rome, No. 42 Alison Riske of the U.S. in Eastbourne and No. 103 Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine in Cincinnati.

At the Miami Open this week, she starts against Czech veteran Lucie Hradecka, who ironically was the last player Bouchard beat at Indian Wells last year before she began her five-month swoon.

After the No. 85-ranked Hradecka, she would play No. 9 seed Roberta Vinci in a fun match-up with the No. 22 seed, Madison Keys, possibly to follow, also a fun match-up.

Currently ranked No. 45, if Bouchard can double her current 1,170 points over the next five-plus months, she would be ranked about No. 20 and be seeded for the US Open. One minor problem is that she won’t be getting first-round byes, as she was a year ago, because her ranking isn’t high enough.

Through everything it appears she remains as popular as ever. Here’s a tweet from Twitter on Monday:

Most followed pro athletes on Twitter 1-@GeorgeStPierre 2-@PKSubban1 3-@strombone1 4-@geniebouchard 5-@RealStamkos91

Those other four would be ultimate fighter Georges St. Pierre, hockey defenceman P.K. Subban, hockey goaltender Roberto Luongo and hockey forward Steven Stamkos. 

Pospisil no cigar in doubles


The final of the 2016 BNP Paribas Open featured the No. 6-seeded team of Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock versus No. 7, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. Pospisil and Sock, the defending champions, went 0-5 on break point opportunities and were beaten 6-3, 7-6(5) by the Frenchmen. They had two points to win the second set and get things into a match tiebreak but Herbert was able to put away two shots at the net to end the threat.

In the tiebreak, the score was 5-5 when Herbert hit a service winner and then returned deep enough to handcuff Sock and give the 2015 US Open champions their first Masters 1000 title.

In singles, Pospisil won a tough opener 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3 over American Jared Donaldson, 19, before losing for the third time this year to Gilles Simon – final score 1-6, 6-0, 6-1.

Currently ranked No. 45, Pospisil has drawn diminutive (5-foot-7), No. 85-ranked Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in the first round of the Miami Open and then would face No. 27 Martin Klizan in the second.

A year ago, Pospisil won his first round in Miami 6-4, 7-6(7) over Juan Martin del Potro (the Argentine’s last match of 2015) before losing 6-2, 6-2 to Grigor Dimitrov. Back again this year with a 2-2 record and a ranking of No. 366, del Potro, if he can beat compatriot Guido Pella, would have a second-round encounter with… No. 3 seed Roger Federer.

A helping hand for Bruno


Bruno Agostinelli (top row third from left with the Canadian Davis Cup contingent in Israel in 2011), an under-14 national coach with Tennis Canada in Toronto, died in a motorcycle accident on March 9th. A former Canadian Davis Cupper and an All-American tennis player at the University of Kentucky, the 28-year-old leaves behind wife Andrea and four-week-old son Alessio Bruno Agostinelli.

This is the website where donations can be made to the Bruno Agostinelli Memorial Fund to help the family he left behind:

Indian Wells post card


Fans always went nuts when Rafael Nadal went past their autograph stake-out spot at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden – here’s the proof.

L.A. post card


Most travellers to Indian Wells from outside the U.S. fly into Los Angeles International Airport. Not far away is the famous Venice Beach with its oddball and eccentric assortment of characters on its world-famous walkway. It’s definitely caveat emptor when it comes to this vendor.