There will be no John McEnroe sightings in Milos Raonic’s player box during this US Open.
What isn’t quite clear, after John McEnroe discussed the matter on an ESPN conference call ahead of the final Grand Slam of the season, is why.
On several occasions, he said it would “make life easier”.
“Milos has two coaches. I came in as an advisory role before Wimbledon. He’s got a great team around him. It’s best, at this point … This week, I was with him. But having thought about it, for Milos’ sake and for ESPN’s and my sake, best to stop right now what we’re doing so when the US Open starts on Monday, he’s got his people …” McEnroe said.
McEnroe alluded to all the conflict-of-interest talk during Wimbledon when the American legend was commentating the late-round matches his charge was playing. From the sound of it, he may well have heard about it from other players or people around them. But it’s hard to tell for sure.
The two did work together this week, McEnroe said – they were even on the court Friday, before the conference call.
“Milos had a great run at Wimbledon, but considering he was 0-7 going into the potential quarter-final with Novak (Djokovic) (which didn’t happen after Djokovic lost early), it didn’t look like it’d become an issue, but it became an issue at Wimbledon,” McEnroe said. “To make life easier … I think Milos is a great kid, but I like to think I have a good relationship with the other players …”
McEnroe added that he’d “love to see all the guys do well.”
“Best to sort of separate at this stage, just make life easier for everyone,” he said.
McEnroe said he “didn’t know” if his relationship with Raonic would resume in some form after the US Open ends. “I like Milos a lot. He’s a great young man. It’s been fun to get in the mix a little bit, but not something I anticipated. … It’s nothing like playing, but the next best thing is being part of it as a commentator. That’s allowed me a connection to the big ones … I don’t want to lose that …”
So, to sum up, McEnroe said he didn’t truly know the answer to the question.
Which kind of made you want to yell, “ANSWER MY QUESTION!!!!!” to coin a particularly legendary McEnroe phrase.
He said he said he “knows that it’s best – whoever it is – that I don’t get involved in the major events.”
“I have a tennis academy year-round. Let’s say Djokovic says he wants to come a week in November. What am I going to say, no? If Milos wants to come a week in October or November and work? Yes. That would be an incredible thing.
“But at this particular time it makes life easier not to continue. That would be the honest answer,” he added.
So, to sum up, McEnroe will be sticking to his rather lucrative day job with ESPN during the US Open.
Raonic will have coaches Ricardo Piatti and Carlos Moyá and the rest of his team around him as well as, it seems, a new “Superman”-type logo that his girlfriend asked be designed and may show up on his team members in the player’s box? (There’s more on that here; we’ll see how all that plays out).
McEnroe and Raonic may well run into each other in the players’ lounge and will say ‘hey’.
McEnroe wishes all the players well, including Raonic.
Finally, it seems likely that McEnroe will end up commentating one or several of Raonic’s matches during this Grand Slam, although as a “former advisor”, not a “current mentor”. This, it seems, will make it a little less awkward than it was at Wimbledon, though a lot less interesting.