Raonic makes earliest Slam exit in 7 years

MELBOURNE, Australia – Underprepared Milos Raonic was dumped out of the Australian Open by Lukas Lacko on Tuesday, January 16, in his earliest exit at Grand Slam for 7 years.

The 86th-ranked Slovakian defeated the 22nd seeded Canadian 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in 3 hours and 22 minutes on Show Court 3.

It was Raonic's worst performance at a major since losing in the first round at Roland Garros in 2011.

The Canadian, a semi-finalist in Melbourne two years ago, was fighting to make up for lost time after wrist and calf injuries last year and an early exit at the lead-in Brisbane International tournament this month.

"I wasn't 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."

Asked about his lack of preparation time for the Australian Open, Raonic 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."   

Raonic, a 2016 Wimbledon finalist, is fighting his way back from a wrist injury last season and despite serving 36 aces, he made 47 unforced errors and had his serve broken 3 times.

Lacko, who hasn't been beyond the 3rd round in Melbourne, will play Argentina's Nicolas Kicker in the second round. – Rappler.com