John McEnroe has questioned whether we've seen the last of Milos Raonic in professional tennis after the Canadian retired hurt against Alex de Minaur at the Australian Open on Monday night. De Minaur was up 2-0 in the third set with the match evenly-poised at one-set all when Raonic was forced to pull the pin due to a hip issue.
The former World No.3 had been moving gingerly since late in the first set and finally succumbed when he couldn't serve without feeling pain. Raonic's wife Camille Ringoir could be seen in tears in the crowd, heartbroken for her husband after a nightmare run of injuries.
Raonic hasn't managed to put together an injury-free run in a number of years, and there are fears the 33-year-old will have to call it quits on his career. He has missed nine grand slam tournaments since 2021 with achilles, back, glutes, ankle, calf and knee injuries, plus a broken toe.
“It’s tough to see any player walk out this way,” Raonic's former coach McEnroe said on Channel 9. “It’s also sad because I don’t know if we will ever see him here again. I’m not sure how much longer he will be able to keep playing, honestly.”
It comes amid similar fears for fellow veterans Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, who both bowed out in the first round on Monday. Murray, Wawrinka and Raonic are all on the wrong side of 30 and have struggled with form and injuries over the last few years.
Raonic 😭😭😭 his wife is about to cry 😭 #AustralianOpen2024
— Olufunke15💙 (@L_aa_w_aa_l) January 15, 2024
aw no Raonic retires early in the third and his wife is in tears :(( he was playing so well too, especially in the first set. hopefully nothing major and it’s a speedy recovery. he’s been so so unlucky with injuries #AusOpen
— deepti (@aeroastrofc) January 15, 2024
Sad to see Raonic injured again, don't think he will be able to compete at the top level again #AustralianOpen2024
— Martyn Waller (@Martynw34) January 15, 2024
I think Milos Raonic will retire from tennis this year probably in Canada. Another injury 😕 #AusOpen
— Tev (@Tevon96) January 15, 2024
Alex de Minaur handed huge opportunity at Australian Open
As for de Minaur, the Aussie admitted he wasn't at his best but will take plenty from the match. The World No.10 looked like running away with things after Raonic left the court for medical treatment at 5-4 in the first set, but ended up losing it in a tiebreaker.
But the Sydneysider kept his composure and knew if he hung around long enough his ailing opponent would stumble. "No matter what the situation is I stayed calm and collected," the 24-year-old said.
"A five-set match means there's always a long way to go so it doesn't matter what you're position you're in, I believe in myself to change the situation. I do believe I lost the first set when I got tight but it's five sets so I told myself to recoup and start again for the second.
"As you saw I was chasing his serve for the better part of that match - guessing every now and again. I just focused on myself in the second set, had to restart and managed to jag a break out of the blue and change the momentum."
De Minaur expressed his sadness for Raonic and said he hoped he would be back. "I hope he has a speedy recovery - it's not great to see him like this," he said. "He deserves to be healthy and playing incredible tennis that he has done for so many years so hopefully he is back in no time."
The Aussie, who scored wins over World No.1 Novak Djokovic and the second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz - albeit in an exhibition match - before the Australian Open, has a genuine chance to make a deep run at Melbourne Park. He won't have to face a seeded player until the second week after World No.18 Nicolas Jarry was knocked out in the first round on Monday in a 6-4 3-6 6-3 2-6 7-5 loss to qualifier Flavio Cobolli.
De Minaur will play Matteo Arnaldi of Italy in the second round. The earliest he could face a seeded player would be the fourth round (pending any upsets) - likely against World No.5 Andrey Rublev.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.