By Alison Williams
LONDON (Reuters) – Under the watchful gaze of new coach and tennis royalty John McEnroe, sixth seed Milos Raonic got off to a solid start with a 7-6(4) 6-2 6-4 win over Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta at Wimbledon on Monday.
While the Canadian was not at the powerful best that took him to his first grasscourt final at Queen’s just over a week ago, his class and big serve overwhelmed Carreno Busta 7-6(4) 6-2 6-4.
“It’s the first match of the tournament. I didn’t expect to pick up where I left off in Queen’s by any means, but I think I did the things well. I created opportunities,” he told reporters.
“Maybe lost my concentration a few times on my service games, but I was always able to bring myself back and efficient out there.”
Much of the attention on Court Two was devoted to three-times Wimbledon champion McEnroe, who slipped into the players’ box when Raonic was 3-2 up in a close first set. As many cameras and phones were pointed at him as his 25-year-old charge.
But while McEnroe was famous for his fiery temperament on court, Raonic finds him positive and encouraging – and his influence is showing, with the Canadian mixing it up more in matches and appearing to have more fun.
“John is one of the more positive people, especially a contrast to the way he might have been on court. That was the thing probably that’s taken me aback the most,” he said.
“He’s very persistent in enforcing the positive things you do well.”
Raonic, hoping to better his 2014 semi-final appearance when he lost to Roger Federer, took the second set with a cheeky lob over the Spaniard, ranked 46th in the world. The Canadian needed seven match points to seal the match in the third.
He faces Italy’s Andreas Seppi, ranked 45th, in the second round. The pair used to share a fitness trainer.
“I have practised with him a lot,” Raonic said. “I’ve I’m pretty sure I know what he’s going to try to do out there on court, what he’s going to look to put me in, what kind of positions.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)