For Milos Raonic, success at the Davis Cup isn't just about winning tennis matches. It's also about helping grow the sport in Canada.
The hard-serving Raonic won his second-straight singles match Sunday, defeating Daniel Garza to lead Canada over Mexico in its Davis Cup tie Sunday.
The 20-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., ranked No. 37 in the world, won 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, on the clay surface to seal Canada's victory in the best-of-five Americas Zone Group 1 first-round tie.
"For me, there's a lot of pride behind the Davis Cup and a lot of pride behind playing for your country," Raonic said on a conference call. "Especially for the growth of the sport, it's not just one person, it's the whole team and it means a lot more to the nation and a lot more to growth for future generations and the growth of the sport in Canada."
After Raonic clinched the victory, Peter Polansky, also of Thornhill, won the dead rubber, beating Manuel Sanchez 6-4, 6-1 to give Canada a 4-1 win over Mexico.
The victory vaulted Canada into a second-round pairing with Ecuador in July.
Holding a 2-1 advantage heading into the final day, Canada needed to win just one of the two matches to clinch the tie. Raonic was up to the task, winning 92 per cent of his first serve points, and firing 23 aces en route to his third victory of the event.
He has vaulted up the rankings in 2011 thanks to a victory in San Jose, Calif., and strong showings at the Australian Open and in Memphis. Playing for Canada is something different.
"This was a great opportunity for me and I'm proud that I got the chance to play and proud that I came through for the team," said Raonic. "I've been doing a lot of my individual stuff, but it's very important for me to win for Canada, too.
"It's a different level of pride playing Davis Cup. It's not my name on the draw, it's Canada. It means a lot to the country and to the sport, as far as growth is concerned, for us to keep pushing for the World Group."
The Canadians split Friday's singles matches, with Raonic defeating No. 546 Sanchez, and Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., 202nd in ATP singles rankings, losing to No. 439 Garza.
Canada took the lead Saturday when Raonic and Vasek Pospisil of Vernon, B.C., won their doubles match over Luis Diaz-Barriga and Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela.
"It's a lot of joy and relief right now," said Canada's captain Martin Laurendeau. "We got off to a bad start on Friday and managed to pull it together and win the next four."
Canada will travel to Ecuador for the second-round tie from July 8-10. The winner will move on to a World Group playoff for a chance to reach the World Cup.
Only 16 countries entered in Davis Cup play qualify for the World Group.