ATP Tennis 360

October 11, 2009 5:53 PM

The new coming from East

Novak Djokovic has won the Atp 500 in Beijing and is now certain to surpass Andy Murray becoming the third best player in the Atp ranking. It was a “schizophrenic” final against Marin Cilic, with the Croat displaying flat groundstrokes with his feet well inside the backline. But after an hour of rain delay the Djoker dashed and clinched the first set 6-2. The second set saw an alternation of breaks: 6 in all the match. Cilic near the net is quite disastrous and wasted an easy forehand to give Novak 3-3. Djoker lost serve twice in a row, but never Cilic succeeded in saving his and forcing the match to the third before losing the tiebreak.

Djokovic is now between the principal candidates for the victory at the Shanghai Masters 1000, where the Serb could clinch his fourth and most prestigious title of a not-so-memorable season. Anyway, Marin Cilic failed to live up with the expectations, grew after he outpowered Nadal in the semifinals.

The Croat is one of the best prospect now in the world-class-tennis: once he'll have solved his inner puzzle, and erased the mistakes in the key moments of a match, he would completely realize his potential.

A potential born in Medjugorje, where the first tennis court was built in 1991. Cilic started practicing football and handball, but sport became a secundary occupation because of the Balcan war. But his city, globally known for the Holy Mary apparition, and at the end of the war Marin started his new life and career.

He discovered tennis casually, thanks to Tanja, a cousin of him visiting Marin from Germany. He revealed his skills winning local tournaments and started feeling the need to compete with stronger adversaries. So he left home and went to Zagreb where he practiced with Goran Ivanisevic, the national hero capable to triumph at Wimbledon starting as a wild card in 2001. “Marin is great: he could become a top-10” said Ivanisevic. And his word is heavy. Years before he suggested to a British journalist to keep an eye on an English guy that would have become a champion: Tim Henman.

So Ivanisevic introduced Marin to Bob Brett, who holds an academy in San Remo, Italy, and was the artifex of Boris Becker title at Wimbledon in 1991. Brett appreciated Cilic's backhand, his trademark, and his intelligence. “He knows how to move his adversaries, to control the rallies without an astonishing power. He had a good comprehension of the game, and has a great and developped work-ethic” said Brett.

In 2006 the world discovered this rangy guy when he conquered the Roland Garros junior title and closed the season as junior n.2, behind Donald Young, in the world ranking.

From then, he started rising, conquering two title in career, at New Haven and Chennai and establishing as one of the most interesting twentysome players in the top-25. Now he needs only the last step, increase his forehand and manage better the key points. But time is on his part.

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