July 10, 2016 5:01 pm
Updated: July 10, 2016 10:25 pm

Local tennis community gathers in Richmond Hill to support Milos Raonic

WATCH ABOVE: Milos Raonic may have lost the Wimbledon match against Andy Murray, but Toronto’s tennis community is celebrating the 25-year-old tennis pro for his impact.

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Although Milos Raonic failed to win a Wimbledon title on Sunday, members of the local tennis community rallied behind the Canadian tennis star.

The 25-year-old Thornhill native lost to British favourite Andy Murray 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2), giving Murray his second Wimbledon title and third major championship.

Tennis players and enthusiasts gathered at the Richmond Hill Lawn Tennis Club Sunday morning to cheer Raonic on, and many in attendance commended the player for his efforts.

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READ MORE: Canada’s Milos Raonic loses in straight sets to Andy Murray at Wimbledon

Casey Curtis, who coached Raonic between the ages of eight and 17, told Global News Raonic is like a son to him and said he felt “sadness and disappointment” for his former student.

“I don’t know if he started to think about things or if it got to him, but sort of towards the middle of the first set he started to falter,” Curtis said. “Every time Milos tried to do something different, Andy had an answer for it today.”

Curtis said Raonic learns from his mistakes and “corrects them very quickly.”

“I know he’ll struggle with this loss for a few days, but he’ll come back stronger like he always does. He knows exactly what happened today,” Curtis said.

Curtis reflected on Raonic’s early years and said he spent five or six hours a day coaching Raonic. He said his former student was “relatively easy to coach” and really increased his work ethic during his mid-teens.

READ MORE: Milos Raonic fans band together ahead of Wimbledon final

But what makes Raonic a standout? Curtis said Raonic, who is six-foot-five, is powerful.

“He’s got a lot of power in his forehand and even on the backhand,” Curtis said. “He hasn’t hit his back in a way he’s capable of yet, so I think we’ll see him hitting his backhand better as he goes on the next few years.”

Former students who trained alongside Raonic said he has made a strong impact on the sport.

“I really think that this is going to do a lot for Canadian tennis, for juniors,” Steffi Wong, who described Raonic as “a little brother,” said Sunday. “When people see someone who came from a familiar background, it makes them believe the goals are more attainable and achievable.”

READ MORE: Canadian Denis Shapovalov wins boys’ title at Wimbledon

Chris Manzinelli said the pair trained together for five years and said with upcoming Grand Slam titles, Raonic has many more opportunities for success.

“He’s playing great tennis, so there’s no reason he can’t win the U.S. Open and he can’t keep it going,” Manzinelli said.

“(Raonic) is 25, so he’s got a lot of time left still. The big guys are kind of on their way out – I think he’s got a good shot at it.”

With files from Erica Vella and The Canadian Press

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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