Now that his claycourt season is over, Canadian Milos Raonic is re-adjusting his sights on to Wimbledon’s lawns with grasscourt great John McEnroe providing “another set of eyes”.
American McEnroe, who won three of his seven grand slam titles at Wimbledon, announced on Friday that he was joining the Raonic camp during the grasscourt swing.
Raonic said it was a ‘great honour’ to have McEnroe in his corner and explained how the collaboration would work after a disappointing fourth-round loss to unseeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas at Roland Garros yesterday.
“I was sort of just looking for another set of eyes to be a bit more efficient on grass,” Raonic, who is coached by Riccardo Piatti and also has former French Open champion Carlos Moya as part of his team, told a news conference.
“There is going to be the three weeks leading to Wimbledon that we are going to work and really put some attention to that and just find that groove, that efficiency.”
Raonic reached the Wimbledon semi-finals two years ago, losing to Roger Federer and, with a powerful serve and damaging forehand, he will arrive in London this year as a player to watch.
McEnroe, Wimbledon champion in 1981, 1983 and 1984, was one of the game’s most instinctive volleyers, gliding stealthily towards the net to catch opponents off guard.
While Raonic has made strides in improving his forecourt play, he knows it still needs work if he is to seriously threaten players such as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at the grasscourt grand slam.
“I’m sure he’ll have some advice to give, and some quality advice to give,” the 25-year-old said.
“I think if you see great volleyers volley, most of the time volleys are pretty easy and it’s because of positioning.”
Raonic is nothing if not thorough in his approach to his profession - hence the expansion of his coaching team.
“At the end of the day, every coach I have is to some extent an adviser,” he said. “I’m the CEO of the Milos Raonic Tennis. That’s it. I take everybody’s consultations very personally. I know everybody I have around me wants to help me to the fullest.
“I’m going to try to do everything I can to sort of maximise giving myself the opportunity to achieve my goals.”
McEnroe’s know-how of grasscourt tennis will be invaluable but Raonic said the 57-year-old American had much more to offer.
“It’s not a focus for just Wimbledon. It’s John coming along to help me improve in general,” he said.