Armed with newfound steel, Milos Raonic says supercoach coach John McEnroe has provided the necessary edge the 26-year-old needs to achieve his grand slam breakthrough at Wimbledon.
Raonic takes on Roger Federer in Friday’s first semi-final and the Canadian is anything but satisfied with making the last four of a major for the third time.
“It’s not enough,” the sixth seed said ahead of his 2014 semi-final rematch with the seven-times champion.
“I came here with a simple goal for this tournament. Everybody on my team has that same objective.
“I think that’s why John was willing to join, for that same goal.”
Raonic leads the tournament with 114 aces and has also fired down the fastest delivery, a 230kph rocket, en route to the semi-finals.
But he insists Federer will need to deal with much more than his nuclear serve if the champion Swiss is to repeat his straight-sets semi-final win from two years ago and reach the final for an 11th time.
McEnroe, according to Raonic, has seen to that.
Raonic’s only defeat in 11 matches since hiring the three-time Wimbledon champion came in the Queen’s Club final against Andy Murray, which the Canadian lost from a set and a break up.
Raonic attributes the improvements to a more aggressive approach.
“The first things we focused on when we were spending a week of training was really about not passing up any opportunities to come forward, to always keep the pressure on my opponents, keep them guessing, making them feel uncomfortable, trying to make them play unbalanced as much as possible,” Raonic said.
“Then when we played the tournament at Queen’s, when I was playing, it sort of shifted to obviously putting those things in effect, but also about attitude on the court throughout matches, having a bigger presence, trying to make a difference.”
A semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January, two weeks after toppling Federer in Brisbane, Raonic also feels more mentally and physically ready for the 17-times grand slam champion than he was two years ago at the All England Club.
“From every aspect, I’ve improved. I know what I need to do on court better,” he said.
“I know how to sort of turn things around to get them on my terms.
“I know what I’m looking for. I know how to go about it, to try to get to that position as much as I can.
“And then when things aren’t going well, I know what things to look for to change.”
The winner will face the victor of Friday’s second semi-final between second-seeded 2013 champion Andy Murray and 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych.
MEN’S WIMBLEDON SEMI-FINAL MATCH-UPS ON FRIDAY
CENTRE COURT (STARTING AT 2200 AEST)
3-Roger Federer (SUI) v 8-Milos Raonic (CAN)
2-Andy Murray (GBR) v 10-Tomas Berdych (CZE)