Time may be running out on the 23-year-old Marin Cilic’s development. The 6’6” Croatian is ranked No. 13, but seems to have stalled after some impressive tennis in 2009-2010. He defeated Andy Murray at the 2009 U.S. Open and made a run to the 2010 Australian semifinal.
Cilic likes hard courts best and has good footwork for his size. He can stride and hit balls that are in the corner, and his serve and strokes can be powerful when he is in the zone.
Though Cilic is talented, he often wilts against better players. At last week’s quarterfinals at Cincinnati, Cilic unraveled against Novak Djokovic. The longer the match, the more he seemed to give in. He lost 6-3, 6-2.
Cilic is fortunate to be coached by Bob Brett, who has worked with several great professionals including Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic. Can he help Cilic develop his stokes and mental strength to win a Grand Slam?
The Croat’s road runs through potential meetings with Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and a quarterfinal possibility with Andy Murray.
Should Cilic meet up with Federer, his 0-3 head-to-head record includes a four-set loss at the 2011 U.S. Open.
If Cilic faces Djokovic in the finals, his 0-7 record on hard courts does not bode well.