Devastated with the Wimbledon final loss, Marin Cilic said his tears midway into the match and the injury issues surrounding the contest against Roger Federer were due to a blister that had aggravated in the semi-final against America’s Sam Querrey. Add to that, the reality of losing a final without providing much of a fight dawned on him and it all came out in tears with an eighth ace of the match from Federer’s racket.
Cilic wept at 0-3 down in the second set having already lost the first set. He was then egged on and cheered by the crowd to get up and play – something he did for the entirety of the final to avoid the first ever retirement in a Wimbledon final since 1911. He received attention after the second set and popped in a painkiller.
“I got a bad blister in the semi-final against Sam Querrey. Fluid just came down under my callous in the foot,” Cilic said. “The physios here helped me over the last 30 hours. They were with me constantly and did as much as they could. I still felt the pain. Every time I had to do a reaction fast, fast change of movement, I was unable to do that. Obviously it was very tough emotionally because I know how much I went through in the last few months in preparation for Wimbledon,” he added following Federer’s 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win.
He acknowledged that the tears at 0-3 down in the second set were lesser due to the agony of the blister and the pain but more with the inability of giving his all in the Wimbledon final. “It was just a feeling I knew I cannot give my best on the court, that I cannot give my best game, especially at this stage of my career, at such a big match,” he said. “It was very, very difficult to deal with it. It didn’t hurt so much that it was putting me in tears. It was just that feeling that I wasn’t able to give the best. It was actually very difficult to focus on the match, as well, as my mind was all the time blocked with the pain.”
“It was tough for me to focus on the tactics, on the things that I needed to do. I wasn’t serving very good because of that. Also I was just not able to set up properly on the balls. It was very, very tough to deal with it,” he added. Cilic’s first ace of the match came in the second set.
Cilic took pain relief prior to the match to help ease the pain but it wasn’t going to go away easy as the hard skin causes problems with quick movement of joints. “We even tried to block the pain. But in that area it’s very difficult because it’s hard skin. It helped, but I still felt some pain,” he said. “Even when I was warming up for the match, I was trying to test myself in exercises with change of direction. Really I was too slow basically to react. I knew that it’s going to be difficult. But I tried.”
He reckons he will be ready in time for the US Open series which work as prelude to the fourth and final Grand Slam of the year. “Having now three weeks off before U.S. series, tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati, I believe until that time everything is going to be okay,” he said.
Despite the loss in the final, Cilic took heart from the fact that he made a journey to the final and played his first Grand Slam final since winning the US Open in 2014. “Obviously it’s a sad one, it’s a devastating one, but I’m really proud of myself for everything I did these two weeks over here,” he said. “I played, I would say, probably best tennis of my life. That’s what I’m going to take home with me. This will give me much more confidence, much more strength for the rest of the year. I know that my level can even go higher. That’s something which is definitely making me more happy.”