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Canadians Burst on to Tennis Scene: Raonic and Marino Serve Notice

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24:  Milos Raonic of Canada plays a backhand in his fourth round match against David Ferrer of Spain during day eight of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images
Sarah LeavittContributor IMarch 10, 2011

Canada and tennis have never been known to go hand-in-hand. Sure, Greg Rusedski made it to the No. 4 spot, but only after he dropped his Canadian status to play for Great Britain. And yes, we have arguably the world's best doubles player in Daniel Nestor but on the singles stage...nada. That's why 2011 has been such an amazing year for Canadians in the world of tennis.

Milos Raonic

The giant with spindly legs has had an incredibly rise in ranks since starting out the 2011 season. The biggest talk has been around his serve; what other ATP players (like Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic) have called the best serve in tennis today.

Raonic started out the season as the 159th best player in the ATP. I hope he popped some Gravol because he sped up the rankings within a month. He became king of the castle in San Jose, where he won his first ATP Tour singles title by beating the tournament's top seed Fernando Verdasco.

Because of that win, he was propelled up to the 30th spot and everybody in the tennis world was talking about the friendly giant with a wicked serve. As of March 10, he sat at a cozy 37th spot on the ATP charts and all of Canada's eyes are on him, hoping the Thornhill, Ontario native won't pull a Rusedski and play for Montenegro, where he was born.

Rebecca Marino

To coincide with Raonic's rise over on the WTA tour, Vancouver native Rebecca Marino is making a name for herself. The 6', 20-year-old first gained tennis fans' attention when she played Venus Williams in the second round of the US Open in 2010, pushing buttons with a first-set tiebreak.

Her serve is nothing short of amazing; at the Australian Open, she stunned Francesca Schiavone with an ace that was 193 km/hr. This year, Marino made it to her first WTA final in Memphis against Magdalena Rybarikova. Unfortunately, it didn't finish as she had hoped, when she retired from the match due to strained abdomen.

As of March 10, she is ranked 63rd. According to her Twitter feed (@rebecca_marino), she is back in shape, hitting balls with no pain and ready to make her mark in the women's tennis tour.

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