‘Not sharp’ Raonic crashes out

Milos Raonic made his earliest exit from a Grand Slam for seven years as he was defeated by Lukas Lacko 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in round one of the Australian Open.

Entering the Melbourne tournament on the back of an injury-filled 2017 campaign, which saw Raonic fall to 24th in the world as he struggled with wrist and calf injuries, the Canadian admitted he was not match sharp.

Although he served 37 aces, he made 47 unforced errors as he went down to Lacko in 3hr 22min on Show Court Three.

“I was not sharp and I struggled physically, thankfully not from injury, but from fitness and preparedness and that caught up with me a lot,” Raonic told reporters.

“I was hoping I would be a little more efficient on the court but things dragged on a little bit and I wasn’t that sharp, quick, I wasn’t hitting that hard or aggressive and I wasn’t able to dictate.”

He played just one tournament in the build-up to the Australian Open but suffered an early defeat at the Brisbane International.

Pressed on his lack of match preparation, he said: “It is what it is.

“It’s what I was aware when I came here, I knew it was going to be something along these lines, obviously I wished it would be much better.

“I knew that the time I had to spend in the gym and on the court wasn’t ideal and I just tried to make the most of it.”

Lacko, the 86th-ranked Slovakian, will play Nicolas Kicker in the second round.