The young, dynamic Canadian pairing of Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard are proving one of the most popular teams for the upcoming Hyundai Hopman Cup. The duo will ensure Canada’s participation at the mixed teams event for the first time in a decade and just the second time ever, and given their stunning individual seasons in 2013, they’re poised to do some major damage when they take to the Perth Arena to kick off the new year.
Raonic was just a few hundred points away from qualifying for the elite eight-man ATP World Tour finals in London, finishing a career-best season at world No.11 after peaking at No.10 for the first time in August 2013.
The big-serving 22-year-old won the ATP title in Bangkok as well as his third straight crown in San Jose back in February. Yet it was run to the final of the ATP Masters event in Montreal in front of rapturous home fans that was the big highlight – Raonic overcame quality opposition including then-seventh-ranked Juan Martin del Potro to reach the biggest final of his young career.
Bouchard also made waves in Canada, first at the concurrent WTA Premier event in Toronto, where she won through to the second round as a wildcard. But it was in Quebec City following the US Open that she enjoyed real success, reaching the semifinals before falling in three sets to eventual champion Lucie Safarova.
That, as well as a finals appearance in Osaka and quarterfinal runs at big WTA events in Charleston and Tokyo – the latter where she beat the highly-ranked Sloane Stephens and Jelena Jankovic – helped the 19-year-old slash her ranking in the past year from No.144 to its current mark of 32nd.
Results aside, fans are thrilled that the Canadians will be gracing the Plexicushion of Perth Arena.
Raonic and Bouchard are generating much of the Hopman Cup discussion on social media channels, which is fitting given the pair’s presence on Facebook and Twitter. Bouchard has almost 40,000 Twitter followers and almost 60,000 fans on Facebook, while Raonic’s Twitter follower tally has topped 120,000.
Their opening tie on Saturday night against host nation Australia – represented by the equally-popular Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic – is bound to attract an enormous amount of attention and contribute to a big-match atmosphere.
And as their profiles continue to soar and they increasingly face the world’s best opposition on stadium courts, this will suit Raonic and Bouchard down to the ground.