MELBOURNE, Australia – Roger Federer and Marin Cilic have met under a lot of dramatic circumstances in recent years.
Their last four encounters have taken place either at Grand Slams, or at the ATP Tour Finals.
And when they last met in a Grand Slam final, just six months ago, it wasn’t much of a match because of Cilic’s nasty case of blisters.
But, in fact, their most recent meetings are not listed on their ATP Tour head-to-head. They met under much more relaxed circumstances, while on vacation in the Maldives.
A little hitup in the Maldives
Here’s Federer talking about it.
“I mean, I was there first, I think, and he arrived later on the island. I was told that Marin was coming. And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool”. It’s not that they warned me another tennis player is coming. It’s all good, we’re fine.
When he arrived, I didn’t want to bother him. He didn’t want to bother me. After two days, he wrote me: ‘I’m here, too, in case you want to catch up and stuff, let me know.’
I was like, ‘Sure, let me know if you want to hit.’
He was eager to hit because it’s good to stay in the rhythm for both of us. We also met up later for drinks, met his fiancée. And then we had cake together, my whole family and him. We had a good time. It’s not like we’re hanging out all the time, but our paths crossed a few times. We actually went to practice twice for 45 minutes.
It’s great fun. No coaches, no nothing, just the two of us on the court hitting balls. It was just nice and laid back. To get to know the man behind the tennis player, I guess, even though I got to know him better through the Laver Cup and so forth.”
There was photographic evidence of this – an epic photo Cilic posted on his Instagram.
You know you’re staying in a posh place when someone brings you copious coconut cocktails onto the practice court.
There likely are no official scores to report for the head-to-head; during a 45-minute session, there woulsn’t be any sets played.
So the head-to-head remains Federer 8, Cilic 1.
The only win by the Croat was a straight-sets victory in the semifinals of the 2014 US Open – his first and only Grand Slam singles title.