McEnroe set for long-term partnership with Raonic?

Milos Raonic’s coach hopes John McEnroe stays part of the Canadian’s team for the long term.

Raonic hired the seven-time grand slam champion to help him for the grass-court season and it paid immediate dividends, with the 25-year-old reaching the finals at both Queen’s Club and Wimbledon.

Andy Murray proved too strong on both occasions but Raonic has marked himself out as the man most likely to join the grand slam winners club in the near future.

Italian Riccardo Piatti is the longest-serving member of Raonic’s three-man coaching team, which also includes former world number one Carlos Moya, having worked with the Canadian since the end of 2013.

Piatti said of the prospect of McEnroe continuing to work with Raonic: “I hope so because it’s good for everybody. John has great experience, he loves this game, he loves to work in a team and everybody wants him. First Milos wants that, and I hope he will continue the relationship with him.”

McEnroe made encouraging noises before the tournament about continuing the relationship on an ad hoc basis and Raonic praised his influence, particularly in encouraging the big server to show more emotion and energy on court.

Raonic said no discussions had taken place with McEnroe, but added: “I think we’ll probably try to find an extent that it can work, he can help me, and try to make the most of it.”

Raonic acknowledged he was beaten by the better player after Murray used his returning prowess to blunt the Canadian’s big weapon in a 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7/2) victory.

Piatti praised the Scot, saying: “A lot of respect to Murray. Murray is already at the top, he already made two finals at slams this year so a lot of credit to him.

“Andy is a very smart player. When Milos stayed back, he’s moving, when Milos came forward, he came forward, so he knows a lot about that kind of game. That’s his experience that Milos has not got.

“Milos needs to play many of those kinds of matches. He also needs to speak a lot with John, with Carlos, to understand much better in which way to use his potential.”

Piatti did take heart, though, from the composed fashion with which Raonic dealt with the biggest occasion of his career.

“I don’t think he was nervous,” said the Italian. “He went on the court quite normal. He was more nervous two years ago in the semi-finals. That’s a good point for him.”

Raonic was well beaten by Roger Federer on his first foray to the semi-finals in 2014 but showed the progress he has made by coming from two sets to one down to stun the seven-time champion in the last four on Friday.

Having also lost to Murray in the semi-finals at the Australian Open this year, Raonic was happy to have taken a step forward.

“I stepped up in a semi-final that twice I struggled in in the past,” he said. “I did a great thing there. I showed guts. I showed vigour. I’ve got to carry that through to the next events.”

The Canadian has never lacked for confidence, outwardly at least, and this has only fuelled his belief that he can lift tennis’ biggest prizes.

He said: “I believe I definitely have that ability within myself. There’s not a shadow of a doubt from myself. The question is, am I going to make the most of it when those opportunities arise?

“Nobody’s going to give me those opportunities. I’m going to work extensively and really hard to give myself those opportunities.

“There’s other guys that want it. I’m going to try to find every solution to every issue I may have, things I need to improve, things I need to get better at on a day-to-day basis to give myself that opportunity.

“That’s what keeps me the most motivated. I think when that disappears, that constant day-to-day progress, I think the beauty of tennis will change to me.”