Raonic hits the heights in Portugal

AFP| Updated: Apr 28, 2014, 21:06 PM IST

Oeiras: Altitude-averse second seed Milos Raonic on Monday found himself perched high up on the mast of a training vessel as the Canadian took his mind temporarily off of claycourt tennis prior to starting the Portugal Open.

The youngest member of the world top 10 at age 23, who stands 10-4 this season, was helping to promote the 2015 Lisbon stop of the Volvo Ocean race.

The round-the-world challenge will set off from Spain and visit South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, France and Sweden, spanning 71,745 kms en route.

It begins October 4 in Alicante, Spain, and finishes June 27, 2015, in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.

Raonic tweeted his bemused reaction to an interview conducted high above the boat`s desk.

"A selfie 100 feet in the air on the mast of a sailboat and I don`t like heights! That was fun," he said.

Raonic will start his second campaign at the Jamor Sports Complex in the second round after a bye, playing on Wednesday against the winner from Aleksandr Nedovyesov of the Ukraine or Uruguay`s Pablo Cuevas.

He was forced to quit a 2011 Portugal semi-final against Spain`s Fernando Gonzalez due to back pain.

Raonic has reached the quarter-finals of all three Masters 1000 events so far this season, in Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo, where he lost to eventual champion and 2013 Oeiras champion Stanislas Wawrinka.

With opening-day qualifying rounds still wrapping up on both the men`s and women`s sides of the draws, 2009 champion Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium reached the second round over Ursula Radwanska 6-4, 7-5.

Oeiras five years ago was the first of the 58th-ranked Wickmayer`s three career titles.

The Belgian recovered from 3-5 down in the second set to earn her win in just under two hours over Radwanska, 73rd-ranked younger sister of third-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska.

Serbian Bojana Jovanovski beat Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in just over two and a quarter-hours.