Article by Troll Tennis Contributor, Sunit Bhattacharya.
After spending the offseason without a mentor, the big serving Canadian has added former world no. 1 and Rolland Garros champion Carlos Moya to his coaching staff. The 25 year old announced the news on instagram shortly after defeating Stan Wawrinka in the Mubadala Tennis Championship.
A great way to start off the New Year. With a win I'd also like to break some news to #TeamMilos. I'd like to announce the Carlos Moya will be joining the team in Melbourne. As a great champion, competitor and person I think he will be a great mentor/coach to me in achieving my dreams and complementing/joining the team. #2016 #CharlyMoya #TeamMilos #photooftheday #win
As of now, the appointment is for the Australian open only. Any long term plan is yet to be announced but nevertheless the move can be seen as a good change for Raonic’s game. Even after the split with Ljubicic, Raonic continued to work with his advisor Ricardo Piatti, a key figure in his team.
Being a hard hitter himself, Lubicic was there to bolster Raonic’s strengths whereas Moya can be very effective in improving the defensive aspects of his game, touted by tennis pundits as Raonic’s major weakness. Starting from return of serve, to overall movement Raonic hopes to make time for himself so he can stay competitive in longer rallies against top opponents. There is a huge room for improvement in the mental part too. Moya, a proven champion, should be more than capable in that department.
Though Raonic has improved a lot under Ljubicic, he is yet to reach the heights predicted for him when he first joined the ATP World Tour. A Wimbledon semi final and a final appearance in Rogers Cup, Toronto against Federer and Nadal respectively were the only two major breakthroughs, losing both times in a very lackluster manner. Here is where Moya comes handy. He will help Raonic explore a new dimension of the game and overcome his defensive fragility.
Although Moya doesn’t have much coaching experience, he has one immaculate point in his cv: he was the mentor of Rafael Nadal in earlier days, although Rafa has a strong coaching group headed by his uncle Toni and Franciso Roig, Rafa himself has said that Moya was a huge contributor to his success.
Although changes in coaching can be very tricky, Moya complements Raonic’s playing style. Courts are getting slower, rallies are getting longer every single day, and under such circumstances, top players need an “A” defensive game. Judging by this, hiring Moya was a strong strategic move by Raonic.