McEnroe Trying to Stoke Raonic’s Inner-McEnroe
I’ve been watching Johnny Mac now in his charge’s last two matches, Milos Raonic’s wins against Nick Kyrgios and Jiri Vesely, and I like what I see in Mac’s courtside demeanor. He’s not piping up, just talking quietly to Raonic’s main coach, Ricardo Piatti, who coached Djoko and more recently, Gasquet. But the intensity which made Mac probably the most fiery player ever to play the game, male or female, is ever evident in Mac’s tight-lipped stare and the way he never takes his eye off the court. Wearing a New York Mets cap for the Kyrgios match and a New York cap for the Vesely match, Johnny Mac could be seen willing Raonic through the finish line in both matches. More than any coach I’ve ever seen except for maybe Becker, Mac looks like he’s taking every match Raonic plays like it’s Johnny Mac himself on the court.
And so far, so good. If it was Mac who got Raonic to cut his hair and change his greasy slicked hairstyle that’s kudos itself. Also, I love the way Raonic is slicing his backhand on the grass, coming up to net and hitting some nifty volleys. Four years ago, Johnny Mac prophesied that Raonic could play a net-rushing game like his idol, Pete Sampras, and win Wimbledon. Will the big Canadian break through at Wimby? His chances are infinitely better now that he’s made this daring move and hired Johnny Mac, who’s been itching to win another Wimbledon since 1984. If Raonic wins the 2016 Wimby title, Mac will feel it’s his too. (McEnroe oil painting by Scoop Malinowski)