LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) - Milos Raonic will not be overawed by seven-times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer when the men take to Centre Court for Friday’s semi-final, the eighth seed said after seeing off Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios.
The 23-year-old Raonic powered past Kyrgios 6-7(4) 6-2 6-4 7-6(4) in Wednesday’s battle of the big servers to become the first Canadian to reach Wimbledon’s last four since 1908.
Walking into uncharted territory, Raonic could be forgiven for fearing 17-times grand slam winner Federer, but he remained defiant at the prospect of facing the Swiss veteran.
”I‘m not playing the seven-times Wimbledon champion,“ Raonic told reporters. ”I‘m not playing a 32-year-old man. I‘m not playing a father of two sets of twins. I‘m not playing the guy that’s won whatever he’s won.
“I‘m playing a guy that is standing in the way of what I want to achieve, and I’ve got to focus on everything that’s there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want.”
Raonic, who reached the quarter-finals at the French Open last month, is one of two players outside the world’s top four to form the final quartet at the All England Club.
He and 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who beat defending champion Andy Murray in straight sets on Wednesday to set up a showdown with 2011 champion Novak Djokovic, are part of a crop of young players tipped to break the so-called Big Four’s domination in the grand slams.
“We’ve been doing better and better, especially throughout this year,” Raonic said of the young guns aiming to shoot down the experienced campaigners who, for all their success over the past decade, are beginning to show signs of vulnerability.
“It’s nice to see that sort of human side to those four guys when you have to step up to face them and have a belief, more so than ever, that it’s yours for the taking if you play well,” Raonic said.
“You see it more in people’s play and people’s attitude when they step out on court. It’s a big difference to where a lot of guys were maybe a year ago.” (Editing by David Goodman)