Marin Cilic is one of the very few players who can boast of having defeated Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Having faced the three sacred monsters so often in the last ten years (38 head-to-head matches) has undoubtedly provided the Croatian giant with a thorough understanding of their game.
Although his career has now entered a downward spiral, Marin has shown in the past that he is a dangerous opponent even for the great rulers of the modern era. Many of him will remember his triumph at the US Open in 2014, without forgetting the finals he reached at Wimbledon in 2017 and the Australian Open the following year (both lost to Federer).
During a recent interview with 'Straits Times', Cilic analyzed the differences in approach between Roger, Rafa and Novak. While the Serbian and the Spaniard play every single point as if it were the last, Federer's goal is to be able to dictate the pace of the match.
The Big 3 have conquered the beauty of 58 Grand Slams in the last decade and a half, a hegemony that has practically no equal in the history of sport.
Cilic on the Big 3
"I would say for example, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are pretty similar in their intensity regarding they play every single point like it's a match point," Marin Cilic said.
The 2014 US Open champion also opined that Roger Federer is a proactive mover on the court who, with his remarkable agility, can cover ground very effectively. "Not saying that Roger Federer isn't (intense), but Roger is more focused on change of pace, change of speed," Cilic said.
"He's having to rely a lot of his game - on a fast game, great serve, great forehand, you know, just mixing up the game and playing aggressive tennis and also playing fast. I will change the attribute fast to athletic, very athletic tennis in terms of stepping inside the court, coming to the net, being really really quick with his movements.
His sharpness is incredible." Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic won an unprecedented ninth Australian Open title this year, not only taking his career tally of Grand Slam championship victories to 18 but also reinforcing the Big Three’s hold on Majors.
However, as some results in the recent past have shown, the Big Three – combined nickname for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Djokovic – can be beaten. Moving forward, Djokovic will reunite with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Miami Open 2021. Hopefully, fans will hear only good things about the Serbian ace from here on.