Blis­ter­ing pace leaves Cilic in tears

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — In pain and in tears, Marin Cilic never re­ally had a chance.

The big-serv­ing Croat played with a blis­ter on his left foot in Sun­day’s Wim­ble­don fi­nal against Roger Fed­erer.

Cilic looked good for a while, but the in­jury quickly got worse as Fed­erer got bet­ter and won 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

“It was def­i­nitely one of the un­for­tu­nate days for me,” Cilic said af­ter los­ing on Cen­tre Court. “Fluid just came down un­der my callous in the foot. Ev­ery time I had to do a re­ac­tion fast — fast change of move­ment — I was un­able to do that.”

Cilic said he first felt the blis­ter dur­ing his four-set vic­tory over Sam Quer­rey in the semi­fi­nals. The 2014 US Open cham­pion said it wasn’t that bad on Fri­day, but it got more se­ri­ous that night.

“I felt that the foot wasn’t so good. It wasn’t so bad af­ter the match,” Cilic said.

“We tried to take some fluid out overnight, and yes­ter­day in the morn­ing it was worse. The doc­tors and phys­ios were try­ing to help as much as they could. They re­ally did the best they could, re­ally helped a lot.”

Cilic served to open the match against Fed­erer and both held to 2-2. Fed­erer then broke twice to take the first set, and broke again early in the sec­ond to take a 3-0 lead.

Af­ter that game, Cilic walked back to his chair and broke down, tear­ing up as he cov­ered his head with his white towel.

“It was a mix of emo­tions. Ob­vi­ously a lit­tle bit of a frus­tra­tion that I had that, and also try­ing to fo­cus on the other side,” Cilic said.

“It’s a tough part when you’re in that kind of sit­u­a­tion. You know there is not much pos­si­bil­ity that you’re go­ing to win. It’s just ac­tu­ally fight­ing it through.”

Af­ter the sec­ond set, Cilic called for a trainer and had his left foot re­taped.

Fed­erer knew some­thing was go­ing on with Cilic, but he wasn’t ex­actly sure what.

“Be­cause I didn’t know and I couldn’t tell, I just said; ‘Fo­cus on your game. Fo­cus on your match. Keep play­ing,’ ” said Fed­erer, who won his eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle and 19 th ma­jor over­all. “The good thing is I was al­ready in the lead.”

Cilic came into the match one vic­tory from his sec­ond ma­jor cham­pi­onship. De­spite a 1-6 record in their pre­vi­ous seven matches, Cilic beat Fed­erer in straight sets in the US Open semi­fi­nals three years ago on his way to the ti­tle.

Fed­erer fol­lowed that up by de­feat­ing Cilic in last year’s Wim­ble­don quar­ter­fi­nals, but Fed­erer is 35 and 28-year-old Cilic is one of the big­gest hit­ters in the game.

The in­jury, though, made Sun­day’s match a ver­i­ta­ble walkover.

“The first five, six games was re­ally good ten­nis, ex­actly the way we were hop­ing, the crowd was hop­ing, that it was go­ing to be this great bat­tle,” said Jonas Bjork­man, Cilic’s coach.

“But un­for­tu­nately it was not meant to be. You could see he started not be­ing able to push off as good and then he started giv­ing us a lit­tle bit of a sig­nal that it was not 100 per­cent again, so then we knew that it was a prob­lem.”

That prob­lem never went away, but Cilic stayed in the match, try­ing to hold serve and strug­gling to even win one point when the ball was in Fed­erer’s hand.

“I re­ally wanted to give my best to try as much as I could,” Cilic said.

TIM IRE­LAND / AP

Marin Cilic re­acts af­ter los­ing a point to Roger Fed­erer in Sun­day’s Wim­ble­don fi­nal.

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