Andy Murray and Milos Raonic will contest the Aegon Championship final at Queen’s Club on Sunday in a match that will also feature a renewed battle between their respective ‘super coaches’, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.
Murray, the world number two and top seed, beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-3 4-6 6-3 in his semi-final to mark a successful start to his reformed partnership with Lendl, which began again on Monday.
Canadian third seed Raonic, who has just started employing the services of Lendl’s old rival McEnroe to help hone his grasscourt game, then overpowered Australian Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-4 in the traditional pre-Wimbledon tournament.
“It’s not about who’s in the opposite corner,” said Murray, when asked about the intriguing match-up between the respective coaches Lendl and McEnroe who played each other 36 times in one of the great tennis rivalries of the Open era.
“John was obviously an unbelievable player and a great, great grasscourt player, so I’m sure he’ll help Milos a lot, but I’m happy with my team and we’ll get ready for tomorrow.”
If Murray wins – he currently leads Raonic 5-3 in career meetings and has won their last four – it will not only set him up perfectly for Wimbledon but also earn him a record fifth title in the venerable and distinguished Queen’s event.
“For sure, that’s a motivation,” he said. “There have been many great players who have won here over the years.
“Yesterday, there was a presentation on the court with (John) McEnroe, (Lleyton) Hewitt, (Roy) Emerson and Boris (Becker, all four-time winners).
“These are some of the best players of all-time so if I can do better than them, that’s obviously a good sign.”
If Murray plays as he did in the final set against Cilic, a former winner at Queen’s who the Scot also beat in the 2013 final, then he will take a lot of beating.
Murray is serving particularly well, having won all 17 of his first-serve points in the final set, and sent down 14 aces, the last one sealing his victory in the two-hour duel.
Yet thunderous-serving Raonic was hardly any less impressive in his 62-minute demolition of Tomic and has not yet had his serve broken during the tournament.
The best form guide for the final? Lendl and McEnroe met here in the semi-final in 1990 — and the Czech won.