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Big Mac's tips on how to win title on Paris clay

A DEVIL-MAY-CARE style of swashbuckling tennis failed to deliver John McEnroe from the most painful defeat of his career but the ex-world No. 1 is convinced Roger Federer must adopt those same tactics to succeed in the Paris arena where he failed 25 years ago.

"It would be a good idea for Roger to change his tactics and play more aggressively," McEnroe said yesterday, counselling the Swiss to shorten the points and head to the net at Roland Garros.

Federer could be forgiven for dismissing the American's advise given that McEnroe can hardly claim to know the secret of success in Paris.

In truth, however, McEnroe's capitulation from two sets up in the 1984 final was more about his fragile state of mind against an Ivan Lendl he despised than any lack of tactical nous or proficiency with the racket.

Nevertheless, the serve-volley style he employed throughout his career has rarely been effective on the red courts of Roland Garros.

Time and again over the years the all-court player has been confounded by the patient counter-puncher and so it has played out in recent years as Rafael Nadal has picked off Federer from the baseline in the last three finals.

Federer, chasing a record-equaling 14th grand slam singles title, simply must do something different to alter the course of recent history, most pundits say.

Trading blows from the back of the court will not deliver the only grand slam title to have eluded him.

McEnroe feels that still may not be enough, however.

"I have to go with Nadal to win his fifth straight French Open title," the American said of the Spaniard.

"Last year's Wimbledon final was the greatest match ever and for our sport," he said of the five-setter in which Nadal stole Federer's grasscourt crown.


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