Bernard Tomic admits he simply didn’t have any answers to Milos Raonic’s powerful serve in a 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 Hopman Cup loss to the powerful Canadian on Saturday night.
And fellow Australian Sam Stosur made her customary slow start to the summer with a 4-6 6-2 6-3 loss to Eugenie Bouchard, giving Canada an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie.
Australia need to beat Italy and Poland in their remaining two ties to have any chance of reaching the final.
Tomic put up a big fight in the opening set, battling from a break down to send it to a tiebreak in front of 7930 fans at Perth Arena.
But Raonic’s 220km/h serves eventually wore Tomic down, the world No.11 producing some big aces to win the tiebreak before racing through the second set in just 22 minutes.
“He has the best serve in the world right now. There wasn’t much I could do,” Tomic said.
“His serve was that good. I was struggling to get a racquet on it.
“The first set was close.
“It came down to the one point I had a mistake on in the tiebreak, and it cost me.”
Raonic felt the momentum swing his way after winning the first set.
“I think it was more him dropping off a little bit,” Raonic said.
“He made some errors he wasn’t making (in the first set), but I felt like I was also putting a bit more pressure on him.”
Tomic starred at last summer’s Hopman Cup, beating then world No.1 Novak Djokovic, Italian Andreas Seppi and German Tommy Haas.
The 21-year-old went on to win the Sydney International, before making the third round of the Australian Open.
But his bid to break into the world’s top 10 went pear shaped from that point on, with a series of first-round bomb outs resulting in a slip to 51st in the rankings.
Tomic has set his sights on breaking into the world’s top 20 in 2014.
The right-hander said he wasn’t concerned about his performance against Raonic, saying it’s always hard to perform first-up following an off-season break.
Stosur and Tomic saved face in the mixed doubles with a 6-2 6-4 victory.