“It was great to spend some time with him and the rest of the team at the Laver Cup,” said Cilic, who played with Federer on the victorious Team Europe. “We got to know each other better, and Roger is an amazing guy and a big inspiration for most of the players.”
But Cilic has to set all that aside, along with Federer’s big-match mystique, to win his second Grand Slam singles title. “The majority of my focus is to try to focus on myself, my own game,” Cilic said. “Now, reaching another final is completely different than all the others that I played. This time around, I’m a different player, different person, slightly different game, slightly different understanding of the game and different mental processes during the matches. I have to keep that for the final.”
It is easy to view the final as a foregone conclusion: Federer winning in four sets, tops. He is 8-1 against Cilic and thumped him, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, in the 2017 Wimbledon final, when Cilic was suffering from severe foot blisters and ended up in tears on a changeover. One of Federer’s coaches, Ivan Ljubicic, is Croatian like Cilic, and knows Cilic’s game well.
The second-seeded Federer is as…