Marin Cilic. This name no doubt sparks fear in anyone who fated to face off with the man in an upcoming match, we can imagine. The 29 year-old from Croatia has climbed his way up, and evolved, from a Croat hopeful whose time most probably never come, to becoming a US Open champion, and a runner-up at the Australian Open and Wimbledon championships. Despite being 29, he seems to staying strong and climbing further still, despite his recent loss to Pella in this Wimbledon championship. Why exactly is Cilic such a force in tennis? This article explores the subject.
1) His Serve
It is most likely no coincidence that Cilic's performance made a drastic improvement - he was mainly a fourth-rounder before that - at around the time that he picked former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanesevic as his coach. Goran Ivanesevic became his coach in April 2014. He reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final 3 months later - he actually lost in the first round of that championship in both 2010 and 2011 - and then went on to win the US Open. The jump in this results could clearly be attributed to an increased offensive capability, a huge part of which has been facilitated by a marked improve serve. It makes sense - Goran Ivanesevic is the fourth best server in tennis history, while Cilic trials behind in 18th place.
2) His Groundstrokes
It is hard for someone who stands in the shadows of giants to be noticed. Cilic is just one of such persons, whose offensive capabilities do not get the level of attention commensurate with its level of danger. In our opinion, the most appropriate definition of a dangerous stroke is one which has the most even balance between spin and flatness. Cilic, although very probably does not have the perfect degree of balance between these two, is definitely not far from such an unattainable standard. This has allowed him to dominate baseline play while keeping his shots under control. In fact, Cilic is to us the best offensive base-liner in the game currently.
3) His Movement
Cilic's footwork is light, even boxer-like light. Being attributed such quality is no mean achievement for a lanky figure like Cilic, who by nature is supposed to be condemned to moving around in awkward hobbles. Cilic is often seen to arrive in position way before what one normally is capable of, giving him many chances to unleash deadly or significantly damaging ground=stroke strives. To better appreciate the danger of Cilic as a result of his effective movement, it would be good to think of Cilic as a combination of a Murray and Karlovic.
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