New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic on Thursday tipped his protege and reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic to win more Grand Slam tournaments provided he remains injury-free.
In the 2014 US Open, Cilic defeated World No.7 Tomas Berdych in the quarters and 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the semis before downing Japanese Kei Nishikori to win the top-flight tennis tournament.
But this year, the 26-year-old has suffered arm and shoulder injuries that forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open, which affected his performance.
Asked about Cilic’s progress, Ivanisevic said: “I am very happy he won US Open. This year he was’t good as he was injured. Last week he served without any pain and hopefully he remains healthy,” the Croatian said.
“It is important for him to remain fit. He has won US Open and (that means) he can beat anybody and win any tournament.”
The 43-year-old said it was good for the sport that the US Open and the Australian Open were won by two new players.
The men’s singles tennis has been dominated by No.2 Federer, World No.1 Novak Djokovic, 14-time Grand slam champion Rafael Nadal and Scot Andy Murray.
They comprise the so-called ‘Big 4’ of modern day tennis, who between them have won 36 of the 39 Grand Slams from the 2005 French Open to the 2014 US Open.
“What happened last year was great for tennis. It was good to see to tennis was great – Wawrinka winning the Australian Open and Cilic winning the US Open. I am hopeful (Tomas) Berdych and Nishikori too,” he said.
However, Ivanisevic, who was known for his fiery serves in his playing days, said it will take time to stop the ‘Big 4’ hegemony.
“There is a good new generation of players coming up but there is still some time for these guys to come up (at the top). Their future is bright.”
Talking about his coaching experience: “Initially I didn’t know what to say and when to say. So, I learned from our other coaches.
“Players think they know everything. But they don’t know everything and you will be surprised by that. I like to keep things simple. There are a lot of things for a coach to do tactics, practice. But it is important to keep things simple and that’s what I do with Cilic.”
He continued: Even top guys need a coach. There are a lot of things a player needs to take care of during matches and in between the players sometimes do not do right things and they panic.”
“If you have a coach, you have someone having a watch on your game and he will let you understand what is perfect and what is wrong.”