When Marin Cilic shocked the tennis world by winning the 2014 US Open title, the big question was whether he could continue to be a serious threat or if he simply got hot for a two week stretch. He'd always been a talented and powerful player, but it appeared he finally put everything together. With an improved service motion he became nearly impossible to break, and he was crushing the ball off both sides from the ground. Unfortunately for Cilic, any momentum he would have ridden from his title was almost immediately derailed by arm and shoulder injuries.
Cilic simply wasn't himself during the latter part of 2014, and missed much of the early part of 2015 with injuries. The only hard court tournament he was able to play was Indian Wells, and Cilic has never been much of a threat on clay (though he did reach the 4th round at Roland Garros). Now that we're reaching the grass and hard court portion of the season we should get a better sense of where Cilic stands in the game.
Cilic just fell in the semifinals of his first grass court tournament to Victor Troicki 7-6 in the third, so he's clearly got some work to do. He should be a major threat on grass with his powerful game, and it will be interesting to see whether he can raise his level in time for
Wimbledon. He gave Djokovic a run for his money at last
year's Wimbledon, and no one will look forward
to being near him in this year's draw.
However, it may be asking too much for Cilic to make a serious run when
he's barely played in a meaningful match all year.
It's hard not to feel a bit bad for Cilic, given that he looked ready to challenge the dominance of the Big Four. He probably wasn't going to have their consistency, but like Wawrinka would be a guy who could show up now and then and steal a big tournament. His injuries took that opportunity away from him following his US Open win, and we're about to find out if he's ready to rejoin Wawrinka as a big hitting threat to their reign.