At one point, with Federer leading in the second set, 3-0, Cilic was in tears in his courtside chair between the first and second set, and sat for several moments with a towel pulled over his head. When he finally returned to play, he got a standing ovation.
After he lost the second set, Cilic removed his left shoe and had his bandaged foot examined. He then took a medical timeout while his foot was re-taped.
“We even tried with some anesthetics [before the match] just to block the pain,” he said. “But in that area it's very difficult because it's hard skin. It helped, but I still felt some pain.
“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.”
Cilic conceded it was especially discouraging that something so seemingly minor as a blister could have such an effect on his game.
“You go thru so many things, even exercising in the gym, to get your body ready for everything,” he said. “Such a small thing can make such a difference.”
Whether it made any real difference against Federer, particularly how well the Swiss icon was playing, is anyone’s guess.
What makes him great — Federer is good at heaping praise on his opponents. But he was asked after Sunday’s match what, in his opinion, has set him apart as a player.
“I've always been a big-stage player,” he said. “I always felt like I played my best on the biggest courts.”
For example, he said he has always struggled at Wimbledon when playing on Court 18, which isn’t as prominent as Centre Court or Court 1.
He also set his sights high early in his career.
“I felt like I dreamed pretty big as a kid,” he said. “I believed that maybe things were possible that maybe others thought were never going to be achievable. That helped me.“Then I just think I trained really hard and really well and very clever over all the years. I go back to my first coach, to my coaches today, and the same thing with fitness all the way to today: I think every step of the way I always had the right people.”
Doubling up – Jamie Murray and Martina Hingis beat Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen, 6-4, 6-4, to claim the mixed doubles championship.
Murray is the brother of Andy Murray, the 2016 Wimbledon champion, and claimed his second title in mixed, 10 years after winning with Jelena Jankovic.
Hingis, who has five Grand Slam titles in singles and 12 in women’s doubles, now has six in mixed doubles.
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