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'I knew I had no chance against Roger Federer' - Cilic recalls Wimbledon 2017 final

  • Marin Cilic talked about his 2017 Wimbledon final defeat to Roger Federer, where a foot blister hurt his chances.
  • With the win, Roger Federer became the first player in history to win eight Wimbledon titles.
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Modified 22 Jun 2020, 13:10 IST
Roger Federer
Roger Federer

In a podcast on ATP Tennis Radio, 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic talked about his greatest achievements and also his painful defeat in the 2017 Wimbledon final. Afflicted by blisters on his foot, Cilic was severely inhibited in his movement that day at SW19, and he couldn't put up much resistance as he succumbed in straight sets to Roger Federer.

With the straight-sets win, Roger Federer became only the second player in the Open Era, the other being Bjorn Borg (1976), to win the Wimbledon title without dropping a set. The latest triumph at the grasscourt Major also made Roger Federer the first male singles player in tournament history to win eight titles.

Cilic had survived a five-set quarterfinal against Rafael Nadal's conqueror Gilles Muller in that tournament. After that he had overcome big-serving American Sam Querrey in a four-set semifinal to reach his first Slam final outside hardcourt.

As admitted by Cilic during the podcast, his blisters began to surface after the semifinal. The Croatian, however, thought that with two days to go for the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer, he had ample time to address the issue.

As it turned out, the problem showed no sign of abating and instead exacerbated on the day. That meant Cilic was a pale shadow of his usual self against Roger Federer, in what was the biggest grasscourt match of his career.

Having won his first four rounds at the tournament without dropping a set, many thought Cilic could have presented a formidable challenge to Roger Federer in the final. That was not to be though, and in the podcast yesterday Cilic ruefully reminisced his 'bad luck' in the title match.

"That was really bad luck, the blister on my foot," Cilic said. "I had never encountered that issue before but it happened on that day."

I was going for broke against Roger Federer: Marin Cilic

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Roger Federer won his eighth Wimbledon title in 2017
Roger Federer won his eighth Wimbledon title in 2017

Describing his play in that 2017 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer, Marin Cilic said that he tried to keep the points short so that he wouldn't have to run as much as usual.

"I was going for broke, trying to go for short rallies," Cilic said. "But you cannot disguise an injury like that on the court. The opponent knows where to play the ball."

Of course, the desperate tactic paid little dividends. Cilic won just four games in the entire first two sets, giving Roger Federer a commanding lead. The outcome of the match by then had become a foregone conclusion, and given his physical condition many suspected Cilic might retire.

Perhaps on another day, Cilic would have thrown in the towel. But he was not going to do so in a Wimbledon final.

"I knew I had no chance to win, especially against Federer, but didn't retire as it was the Wimbledon final," said Cilic.

The third set was a competitive affair as Cilic won four games, but Roger Federer managed to snuff out the Croat's last stand and wrap up the match in quick time.

The Wimbledon triumph was Roger Federer's second Grand Slam title of 2017, marking the first time in eight years that the Swiss legend won multiple Majors in a year.

It remains Roger Federer's latest Wimbledon title, as the then 37-year-old infamously squandered two championship points against Novak Djokovic in the 2019 final of the competition.

Published 22 Jun 2020, 13:10 IST
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