LONDON: Five facts on Marin Cilic, who faces Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final on Sunday:
Cilic beat Sam Querrey in four sets on Friday to reach his first Wimbledon final, a victory that was a sprint finish compared to his 2012 third round success against the American at the All England Club. It took Cilic five hours and 31 minutes that day, the second longest match in Wimbledon history after John Isner’s 2010 epic against Nicolas Mahut.
The Croatian was given a nine-month ban in 2013 after the International Tennis Federation said traces of banned stimulant nikethamide were found in a sample he gave at a tournament in Munich. Cilic claimed the failed test was a result of taking over-the-counter glucose tablets, but argued only a by-product of the banned substance had been found. He took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the ban was reduced to four months
— Cilic credits his older brother Vinko for learning how to play tennis. “I started tennis with my older brother Vinko when our father brought us to a tennis club. Vinko was already too old to start to play tennis at 12, but I was at proper age to start,” Cilic said. Two years later Cilic had shown so much promise he left his home town of Medjugorje to move to Zagreb for better training opportunities.
At 6 feet 6 inches Marin Cilic became the joint tallest man to win a Grand Slam when he triumphed at the US Open for his first major title three years ago. Argentina’s Juan del Potro, who won the US Open in 2009, was also 6 feet 6 inches.
Cilic is only the second Croatian to reach the Wimbledon singles final. The other was Goran Ivanisevic, who served as his compatriot’s coach until last year. The pair remain friends and Ivanisevic has watched several of his matches at Wimbledon over the last fortnight. If Cilic beats Federer on Sunday, it would be an even bigger upset than Ivanisevic’s 2001 Wimbledon final victory over Pat Rafter in a five set classic.