John McEnroe may not be on hand to offer advice this fortnight but Milos Raonic believes he is ready to go one better than Wimbledon and claim his first grand slam title.
The Canadian, beaten by Andy Murray in what was his first grand slam final last month, confirmed on Monday that he would not be working with McEnroe for the duration of the U.S. Open because of the American’s television commitments.
But Raonic, who eased into round two with a 7-5 6-3 6-4 win over Dustin Brown of Germany, said he felt he had learned from his defeat at Wimbledon.
“It was great to put myself in that situation, to have a chance to be one match away from winning a grand slam,” said Raonic, who now plays American Ryan Harrison.
“But at the same time, the negative side of it was I wish I played with a little bit more intensity and stepped up a little bit better, which I would try (to do) if I could put myself back in the situation, which I believe I can.”
Raonic, one of the more studious players on Tour, said he had not realised how he had played against Murray until he examined the footage later.
“I thought I was doing it, that’s the different aspect of it,” he said. “I know that everything I had I did put into that match, into that final, because I knew the importance of it.
“But I think I could have expressed it more externally to get a little bit of pressure off myself and get a little energy out and convert it and use it in a better way.”
Raonic worked with McEnroe in the days leading up to the tournament and the fifth seed said he understood the former world number one’s reasons.
“I believe it was just too many things going on throughout this period of time,” he said.
“He felt like that was the right decision. At the end of the day, it’s a decision we’re both OK with. We spoke about it, were up front, and there’s no ill feelings over it.”
But Raonic said McEnroe’s influence would still be evident in his play over the next two weeks.
“There’s certain things I’m trying to bring awareness to in my game,” he said. “I’m trying to improve what I feel I need to do better.
“We’ve had some good matches to reflect on over the last little while. Hopefully I can implement those things I’m working on.”