And on the sixth day he played tennis.

Milos Raonic arrived at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the 2015 BNP Paribas Open last Monday on an early flight from Vancouver after the Canada – Japan Davis Cup tie.

He waited around six days to play his first match but still looked sharp Sunday, defeating Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-4 on a day when the temperature reached 35 degrees.

In February, Raonic beat Bolelli in Rotterdam 6-3, 7-6(2) but the 29-year-old Italian surprised him a week later in Marseille, winning 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3).

Raonic Indian Wells

“Let’s just say revenge on the mind in that just not wanting to have that sour story again,” Raonic said about his motivation going into Sunday’s match in 8,000-seat Stadium 2. “I was just a little bit more emotionally positive.”

It was a clean match for Raonic, who did not face a break point. He broke Bolelli to 3-1 in the opening set with some heavy hitting, and then again to 5-4 in the second set helped by a huge forehand cross-court service return winner, a Bolelli forehand unforced error and, on the decisive point, by out-maneuvering the Italian in a backhand-to-backhand rally that wound up forcing a backhand error into the net.

The serving stats show Raonic’s dominance – he won 89 per cent of first serve points and an impressive 75 per cent on his second serve.

It was not an easy adjustment from playing indoors in Vancouver last weekend to the slow Plexipave outdoor courts in Indian Wells. Raonic was methodical in enumerating the differences: “Much higher bounce, much slower, the sun, the heat, pretty much every single difference that you can have on hard courts. It’s like polar opposites here.”


Next up on Tuesday for the No. 6 seed will be Alexandr Dolgopov, with revenge again a dish ready to be served by the Canadian. A year ago in the quarter-finals, Raonic was upset 6-3, 6-4 by the 26-year-old Ukrainian.

Unlike 2014, when he was playing his first event since the Australian Open after an injury issue just above his left ankle, this year he should be better prepared for the No. 41-ranked Dolgopolov.  

“I think what he did especially well was handle my serve,” Raonic said recalling the way Dolgopolov played last year. “I was serving well through that tournament, and he just made that part difficult for me. But it’s a very different time. I think I have a much better understanding. I have a lot more tennis in me from the start of this year. I still have a lot more comfort, and it’s not really my first tournament coming back from a while out where I’m sort of second‑guessing decisions.” 

Raonic is now on a schedule to play Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday if he’s to make it all the way to the final.

Raonic presser

During his pre-tournament round-table interview, Raonic revealed that he has developed an interest in the art world.

“A friend of mind has introduced me to a lot of contemporary art and expressionism,” he said, “Recent artists and a lot of the pop art stuff I’ve learned about over the last six months. (It’s) from a close friend of mine and his mentor. A lot of things I actually never knew about and I’ve learned to appreciate.”

Asked about specific artists, Raonic said, “Dan Colen I really enjoy, Rasheed Johnson. They’ve really stood out to me because my friend has a close involvement with them and is a big fan of theirs. So he’s pointed out their stuff to me. Then obviously, I think the way Andy Warhol, being a most important artist later in the 20th century, opened gates for those guys.” 

Raonic said he learned a lot on a recent trip to Switzerland with his friend and the friend’s mentor. Summing up, he said, “I’ve always been a numbers kind of guy. So that world is something very new and I guess it’s a big fascination at this moment.”   

Bouchard forehand

On Saturday night, Genie Bouchard made an impressive debut – playing only her second match in 47 days (since losing to Maria Sharapova on January 27th in the Australian Open quarter-finals), easily beating qualifier Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2 in 57 minutes.

Bouchard’s last match was a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 loss to Mona Barthel of Germany in her opening match in Antwerp on February 12th, when she may have been bothered by an arm issue.

“I’ve been working towards this for a while and I was so excited to play a match…just play competition,” a healthy Bouchard said after defeating Hradecka. “You almost forget what it’s like. I got reminded how much I love it… the competition. That’s what it’s all about. Practice is so boring compared to a match. I was so excited so I was extra intense. And when I’m extra intense and I move my feet, that helps my game.”

The win sets up a third round against powerful 23-year-old Coco Vandeweghe of the U.S. on Monday at 11 a.m (2 p.m. ET). It will be the first meeting between the No. 7-ranked Bouchard and the world No. 36, who is from the San Diego area.

“She has some weapons for sure – big serve, big forehand,” Bouchard said about Vandeweghe. “I’m going to be ready for those and try and neutralize them and then take it forward like I did today (Saturday).”

Bouchard match Indian Wells

There was pink overkill going on Saturday night in Stadium 1 – Bouchard’s first ever match there. Both players were similarly attired.

“There was too much pink,” joked Bouchard, who wore the same Nike outfit as in Australia. “I’m excited for a change, let’s put it that way. I always think that it just sucks for viewers – it’s like ‘oh look at the girl in pink…oh wait, which one?’ I like to be different so I’m not a fan of that.”

Bouchard may get a little fired up when she learns of some remarks by tennis legend Chris Evert during an interview with a group of reporters on Saturday.

Discussing a seemingly revitalized Sloane Stephens and her coach, Evert said, “I think Nick (Saviano) is going to be great for her. I don’t know why Genie Bouchard didn’t stick with him.”

Evert went on to say she would put 20-year-old Madison Keys, the 2015 Aussie Open semifinalist, ahead of Bouchard, 21, in terms of the emerging group of young players. “Because of her power,” Evert explained about Keys, “Because she’s got that natural power on the serve where she doesn’t have to work on it. It just comes natural to her. That motion, that swing, it’s very much like Serena. She’s going to hold serve 95 per cent of the time.

“Her ground strokes are effortless, effortless power. I think it’s beautiful to watch. And emotionally, she’s finally starting to catch up. We all knew it would happen when we saw her at 12 years old. We knew it was going to happen, but not when was it going to happen and when she was going to be ready. I sense that she’s finally ready.”

Specifically about Bouchard in 2015, Evert said, “I don’t think she’s going to do as well in the Grand Slams as she did last year. I mean she did great.

“I’m not going to say she’s not going to have a good year. She hasn’t started out great, and really nothing’s happened since Wimbledon last year.

“She doesn’t look as sharp as she did in the Grand Slams right now. But, knowing her and how determined she is – that mental toughness – that could get her right back up to where she was.”

Those comments are sure to pique the ultra-competitive Bouchard. There could be a Bouchard – Keys match-up at the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals, but the main obstacle to that might be a potential Keys – Caroline Wozniacki confrontation in the round-of-16.

Bouchard practice

The way things shape up at the moment, Bouchard (above in a “Try And Keep Up” T-shirt) is on a cycle to play Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday if she were to reach the final.

Also worth noting, the victory over Hradecka was Bouchard’s first with new coach Sam Sumyk of France.   

Pospisil out to Murray

Pospisil Murray

Vasek Pospisil did not have a good day on Saturday – losing 6-1, 6-3 to No. 4 seed Andy Murray.

He held his opening service game but then lost touch with his best tennis – making a rash of forehand unforced errors and not winning another game in the first set. Things were more competitive in the second set, but Murray was able to pull away at 3-all against a once again struggling Pospisil, wrapping up the match in an hour and 19 minutes.

“He didn’t serve particularly well,” Murray said about Pospisil.  “I thought I played quite a smart match, played solid. I didn’t go for too much, but I also felt like when we were in the rallies I was dictating them, keeping him pinned in his backhand corner, and pushing him further and further away from the baseline.”

The stats backed up Murray’s remark about Pospisil’s serving – he made only 46 per cent of first serves, won 71 per cent of first serve points and just 34 per cent of second serve points.

As discouraging a day as it was for him, Pospisil has now won at least one match in every (6) ATP tournament he has played in 2015 – except for Dubai when he faced world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the first round.


In the doubles, Pospisil, with Jack Sock, is seeded No. 8 and later on Sunday they were to play their first match against Feliciano Lopez of Spain and big-serving Sam Groth of Australia. The BNP Paribas Open is Sock’s first tournament of the year after having hip/pelvic surgery on December 16.   

Nestor rolls in doubles


Daniel Nestor won his sixth (four in Dubai, one Davis Cup in Vancouver and one in Indian Wells) doubles match in a row as he and partner Rohan Bopanna advanced to the second round with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Richard Gasquet on Saturday.

The match started inauspiciously as Chardy double-faulted three times in losing his serve in the second game. Bopanna had double-faulted in the opening game while holding serve, but Nestor paid the price for his double fault in the third game, losing his serve and the set was soon back at 2-all.

The first set was competitive from that point until it was finally resolved in the tiebreak. The second set was essentially decided by another break of the Chardy serve.

Nestor and Bopanna are currently No. 6 in the ATP team standings for 2015 – and don’t look now but Bob and Mike Bryan are at No. 11.

Next for Canadian/Indian pairing, seeded seventh, is the Spanish duo of David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco later on Sunday.

Nestor has won the Indian Wells title four times, but not since 2006.

All in for Roger

Federer practice Indian Wells

The main practice court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is located right behind 16,100-seat Stadium 1. There’s ample seating around the court and huge crowds gather when the big names practice there. The picture above was taken late last Friday when Roger Federer (near court) was hitting with Philipp Kohlschreiber.

NOTE: The next Indian Wells blog will be the regular Tebbutt Tuesday – but later in the day because of the time difference with EDT.