Milos Raonic believes US Open champion Bianca Andreescu is “definitely” capable of becoming world number one in the next few months.
Teenager Andreescu stunned Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows earlier this month as she beat the 23-time major winner 6-3 7-5 in her first grand slam final.
The 19-year-old is the latest in a line of young Canadian tennis players to make it at the top level, but the first to win a major singles title.
On Andreescu’s victory in New York, compatriot Raonic told the PA news agency: “Having our first grand slam in singles is something incredibly special and Bianca should be very proud and she got an incredible reception back home in her home town.”
Speaking as part of Jaguar’s official vehicle partnership with Wimbledon, which saw the Jaguar ambassadors lead a tennis masterclass for a group of Ace Pace competition winners, Raonic is confident Andreescu can continue her upward trajectory.
He added: “I think she’s top five or six in the world now and, with the way women’s tennis is going at the moment, she has a pretty good opportunity to have the chance to strive for number one over the next couple of months.”
On whether she could become world number one, Raonic said: “Definitely. I think it’s a lot more open.
“I think you’ve seen a lot of different number ones over the last couple of years, especially with Serena not playing a full schedule now as a mother, and I think that opens it up a lot more for everybody.”
Canada currently has four players in the top 100 of the ATP men’s singles rankings in Felix Auger-Aliassime, Raonic, Denis Shapovalov and Brayden Schnur. In the women’s rankings, Andreescu is number five in the world.
Raonic is the oldest of that group at 28, and although he maintains he has always focused on his own performance, he said seeing Canadian players succeed could have helped the younger generation.
“I’ve always seen it as I wanted to just be the best tennis player I can be. They all went at some point to that programme in Montreal and worked with the coaches in Tennis Canada that I was with before.
“I think it gives you more of a belief that once they’re telling you things, I think those words carry a bit more weight and you see it is possible as a Canadian to succeed in tennis, and I think maybe there is some kind of help with conviction and belief there but I guess it’s sort of a repercussion.”