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Wimbledon: Milos Raonic believes John McEnroe can help him make the leap from challenger to champion as he takes on Roger Federer

By Tom Allnutt

Milos Raonic's coach John McEnroe has urged his charge to show Roger Federer some swagger when they go head-to-head in today's Wimbledon semi-final.

Raonic is a dark horse for the title after backing up his run to the final at Queen's three weeks ago by making the last four at the All England Club, his second major semi-final this year.

But Raonic has been accused of being too passive on court, his clinical game perhaps needing an injection of flair and passion to upset the very best.

Enter McEnroe, whom the Canadian appointed to his coaching team ahead of the grass-court season with the aim of helping the World No.7 make the jump from challenger to champion.

Winning the crowd on Centre Court against Federer is, as Marin Cilic and even Andy Murray have found, an almost impossible task but Raonic believes more aggression, both in his play and personality on court, can help destabilise opponents.

"The first things John and I focused on when we were spending a week on training was really about not passing up any opportunities to come forward, to always keep the pressure on my opponents, keep them guessing as much as possible," Raonic said.

"Then when we played the tournament at Queen's, it shifted to putting those things in effect, but also about attitude on the court throughout matches.

Raonic lost to Federer in straight sets at the same stage here two years ago but the 25-year-old beat the Swiss in Brisbane in January before knocking out Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open and pushing Murray to five sets in the semis.

Grass should be his deadliest surface, too, but it is also Federer's, the 17-time Grand Slam king chasing a record eighth Wimbledon title and appearing to play himself into form during his five-set comeback against Cilic.

No player at the tournament has served more aces than Raonic's 114 so far and if Federer is to go through he may need to endure more long sets and a tie-break or two, which could be a big ask for the 34-year-old after his marathon against Cilic.

Belfast Telegraph

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