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Raonic wants to extend partnership with McEnroe

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LONDON —¬†Three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe is helping ninth-ranked Milos Raonic prepare for the Grand Slam tournament and the Canadian already wants to see their partnership continue beyond the grass-court season.

“It’s really nice, he’s probably the most energetic 57-year-old I know,” said Raonic, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2014.

“We laugh. We also share a lot in common off court. He loves art as well, and he has a lot more experience in it than I do. We discuss that quite a bit.”

It also appears to be working on court, with Raonic playing Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday in the Queen’s Club quarterfinals.

Unsurprisingly, coach McEnroe is urging 25-year-old Raonic to be more aggressive.

“Most of the time (the talk) is about positioning on the volleys, where to be, especially when you see a guy maybe sort of off-balance or which angles to cover,” Raonic said. “We have also worked a lot on being quick to realize opportunities to move forward or be aggressive earlier in points.”

With the partnership working on grass, Raonic wants to try it out on other surfaces.

“When I brought John on and asked him if he would like to be a part of this project, there was never an intention of I want to just be better on grass,” said Raonic.

“That was far from it. It was I wanted to take this time to improve considerably and it’s the same things that I can incorporate and use on grass now, but I can incorporate and keep using it on hard courts as well.”

Whether the American, a seven-time major title winner, will be able to commit the time is another matter, but Raonic is not giving up.

“He’s got a pretty full plate, that’s for sure,” Raonic said. “He could be the most beneficial for me leading up to tournaments and then sort of helping me throughout tournaments, whether that be from close or from afar.”

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

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LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”

Kuznetsova out of Australian Open after left wrist surgery

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.

Tennis Australia on Friday said No. 12-ranked Kuznetsova and China’s Sasai Zheng, with a right knee injury, were the only players ranked in the top 100 who are confirmed as not playing the Jan. 15-28 tournament at Melbourne Park.

Serena Williams, who was pregnant while winning the 2017 Australian Open title and gave birth to her first child in September, “is anticipated to return,” Tennis Australia said.

Williams could equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with another win at Melbourne Park. Serena Williams’ ranking has dropped to No. 22 during her break from the tour.