LONDON – The numbers don't look promising for Milos Raonic when it comes to his semi-final showdown against Roger Federer at Wimbledon. Consider the following:
* Federer has won 17 grand slam titles, including seven at the All England Club. Raonic, meanwhile, is playing in his first ever slam semifinal.
* Raonic has lost seven straight matches against top-four players dating back to 2012. Federer is currently ranked No. 4.
* Raonic has never beaten Federer in four tries and the most recent match, at the 2013 Australian Open, ended in straight sets. That was their only previous encounter at a slam.
* Federer is the most successful active player on grass with a 130-18 career record and 14 titles. Before this tournament, Raonic had never made it past the second round at Wimbledon and had a sub-.500 record on grass.
* Federer has never lost a Wimbledon semifinal in eight previous appearances. Did we mention Raonic has never played in any slam semifinal?
So, it seems pretty bleak for the 23-year-old, right? Not so according to Raonic, who is aiming to become the first Canadian man to ever make a major final. Here's what he had to say when asked about facing Federer on a court where he's had the most success in his career - a career that may go down as the best ever.
"I'm going to step out there and I'm not playing the seven-time Wimbledon champion. I'm not playing a 32-year-old man. I'm not playing the father of two sets of twins, which is a very low possibility bet to do. I'm not playing the guy that's won whatever he's won, which I could probably list quite vividly. I'm playing a guy that is standing in my 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 understands how big a win could be for him on Friday. It could be a career-defining moment.
"It can be if I get the job done. I focus on what I need to do. Everything else is a ripple effect. Everything else is a reason. I have to create the cause for it by playing good tennis and giving myself the possibility to win."
As for those four previous losses to Federer?
"He's gotten the better of me all four times, but I haven't played him in more than a year, a year and a bit, so I think I'm a different player," Raonic said. "I've got in close with him in the past. I've found a lot of those things [that will help me] sort of pull away. That gives me a lot of belief that I can do this.
"So there's no point to talk about it. I've got to step up and do it."