Marin Cilic is a Croatian tennis player who has achieved the near-impossible task of winning a Grand Slam in the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic era. The winner of the 2014 US Open and a Slam runner-up on multiple occasions, Cilic has separated himself from the pack in a way that few others have managed to.
The Croat has been a consistent performer at the top of men's tennis for nearly a decade, and continues to challenge for all the big titles even after turning 30.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: Runner-up (2018)
French Open: Quarterfinalist (2017, 2018)
Wimbledon: Runner-up (2017)
US Open: Champion (2014)
Highest Ranking: No. 3
Style of play
Cilic is an aggressive baseliner who likes to take the attack to the opponent. He uses his height to hit big off both wings, and can also change direction at will.
Cilic's game is heavily dependent on his serve, which he hammers with pace on both the first and the second delivery. He also takes big swings at the return, and plays first-strike tennis for the most part.
The Croat comes to the net fairly frequently, as his big groundstrokes elicit plenty of short replies from his opponents. He doesn't hit too many drop shots or lobs though, and usually sticks to forceful topspin drives.
Strengths and weaknesses
Cilic's serve is one of the best in the world, and he uses it very efficiently to win free points as well as to set up groundstroke winners. His 6'6" frame enables him to generate a lot of pace on the second serve too, which means breaking him is usually a very tough task for his opponents.
Cilic's forehand has improved beyond recognition over the last couple of years. While it used to be a loopy and inconsistent shot in the early part of his career, it has become a devastating weapon in recent times. He can hit flat and topspin forehands with equal efficiency, and controls a majority of rallies with this wing.
Cilic moves incredibly well for a player of his size, and was one of the first to show that tall players can be good at defense too. His long limbs and remarkable footwork help him reach balls that most others aren't able to.
The Croat's backhand has become a bit of a liability of late. It used to be rock solid when he first burst on to the scene, but now it can become error-prone at times.
Cilic can also be a bit reckless at times, going for big shots even when pushed out of position. That leads to a few untimely unforced errors, which prove to be his undoing more often than not against the top players.
Cilic was born in Medugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, although both his parents are Croatian. He started playing tennis at the age of seven, and moved to Italy in the year 2004 in order to train with coach Bob Brett.
His role models while growing up were Goran Ivanisevic and Ivan Ljubicic, and he even played under the tutelage of Ivanisevic for a while. Cilic won his only Grand Slam when Ivanisevic was his coach.
Cilic has been unfortunate to have played in the same era as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but has earned worldwide respect for the success he has achieved in his career despite that disadvantage. His performance at the 2014 US Open in particular is often cited as evidence of near-perfect tennis; none of his opponents in that tournament had any answer to his flawless hitting.
He has since reached a couple more Grand Slam finals, and is also one of the very few players outside the Big 4 to have won an ATP Masters 1000 title in the last decade - the 2016 Cincinnati Masters.
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