Wimbledon men's final preview: Roger Federer vs. Marin Cilic

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Wimbledon men's final between seven-time champion Roger Federer and first-time finalist Marin Cilic.

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates during the Wimbledon Gentlemen's Singles Final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on July 6, 2014© Getty Images

Five years since last lifting the Wimbledon trophy, Roger Federer has the chance to move out on his own as the tournament's most decorated player when he takes on Marin Cilic in the final on Sunday.

The seven-time champion has continued his 2017 resurgence at SW19 and goes into the match as favourite against Cilic, who has reached the final for the very first time.

Here, Sports Mole looks at some of the key factors which could come into play during one of the red-letter days in the tennis calendar.



Experience

The list of players who can match Federer's winning experience at Wimbledon is a very short one. Only Pete Sampras in the Open Era has won the title as many times as the Swiss maestro, and Federer can become the first player in the tournament's long and illustrious history to win an eighth title this weekend.

Already the most successful male Grand Slam champion of all time, success for Federer on Sunday would take him up to 19 major titles in his career and number 20 looks a lot more likely now than it has done for much of the past five years or so.

The 2012 Wimbledon crown was Federer's only Grand Slam title since 2010 prior to 2017, but he is arguably playing better than ever at the age of 35 and, having already won the Australian Open this year, he has the chance to land two majors in the same year for the first time since 2009.

Cilic, meanwhile, is appearing in just his second Grand Slam final - compared to Federer's 29th - having previously won the US Open crown in 2014.

The 28-year-old has reached the latter stages of all the major tournaments, including a quarter-final appearance in this year's French Open, but he has often fallen short against the very best.

Cilic's best hope may be that Federer chokes. It is admittedly unlikely given his phenomenal success throughout his career - particularly on Centre Court - but as the Betway Insider explains perfectly in this infographic, it is a physiological response which could happen to anyone.

An infographic on the science behind choking

Federer would not be the first big name to be upset in this year's competition either, with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray crashing out in the quarter-finals while apparently carrying injuries and Rafael Nadal going down at the hands of Gilles Muller.



Form

ROGER FEDERER

As already mentioned, Federer's current form could stand alongside his best ever and he has reached the final at SW19 without dropping a single set - just the third time he has achieved that.

It wasn't until the semi-final against Tomas Berdych that he ever really looked tested, and even then he came through in straight sets.

Roger Federer's route to the final:

R1: 6-3 3-0 RET Dolgopolov
R2: 7-6 6-3 6-2 Lajovic
R3: 7-6 6-4 6-4 Zverev
R4: 6-4 6-2 6-4 Dimitrov
QF: 6-4 6-2 7-6 Raonic
SF: 7-6 7-6 6-4 Berdych

That has continued Federer's stunning form in 2017 having already won tournaments in Australia, Indian Wells, Miami and Halle to rack up a 29-2 record for the calendar year.

The now 11-time Wimbledon finalist opted to miss the French Open in order to give himself another rest, meaning that victory on Sunday would make it two wins from two Grand Slams in 2017.

Marin Cilic of Croatia celebrates victory in his Gentlemen's Singles Fourth Round match against Denis Kudla of the United States during day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2015© Getty Images

MARIN CILIC

Cilic's route to the final has not been quite as straightforward as Federer's, but he has still turned heads with his performances at SW19 over the past fortnight.

The Croat has seen off Rafael Nadal's conqueror Gilles Muller and the man who ended Andy Murray's title defence in Sam Querrey, but this will be the first time he has come up against one of the 'Big Four' during this year's tournament.

Marin Cilic's route to the final:

R1: 6-4 6-2 6-3 Kohlschreiber
R2: 7-6 6-4 7-5 Mayer
R3: 6-4 7-6 6-4 Johnson
R4: 6-2 6-2 6-2 Bautista-Agut
QF: 3-6 7-6 7-5 5-7 6-1 Muller
SF: 6-7 6-4 7-6 7-5 Querrey

Cilic has improved significantly as the year has progressed, starting 2017 with early exits in Chennai and the Australian Open but since having won 26 of his last 37 matches.

Cilic's preparation for Wimbledon was close to ideal too, reaching the semi-finals and final of grass court warm-up events in Den Bosch and Queen's respectively.



Head to head

These two players have met seven times before, and Federer has only ever lost once to Cilic - although that did come during Cilic's run to the 2014 US Open title.

Indeed, Cilic thrashed Federer in straight sets on that occasion, and it may take a similar level of performance to pull off an upset this weekend.

The most recent meeting between the pair came in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year when it looked as though Cilic was on course for another memorable victory when he moved into a two-set lead on Centre Court.

However, Federer - clearly suffering with a knee injury at the time - stormed back to win it in five sets and book his place in the semi-finals.



Prediction

Cilic's form during the tournament suggests that he could give Federer his biggest test yet, but it is still hard to look past the Swiss genius. Arguably the greatest of all time is playing tennis akin to his very best years, and on that form there aren't many who can stop him. We are going for Federer to win in four sets.

Who will win the 2017 Wimbledon men's singles final?

Roger Federer
Marin Cilic
Roger Federer
87.5%
Marin Cilic
12.5%
Switzerland's Roger Federer reacts after winning the second set against Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their men's singles final match on Centre Court on day thirteen of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwe
Read Next:
Federer sends message to rivals
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



ATP RankingsPoints
1Scotland flag Andy Murray7,750
2Spain Rafael Nadal7,465
3Switzerland Roger Federer6,545
4Serbia Novak Djokovic6,325
5Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka6,140
6Croatia Marin Cilic5,075
7Austria Dominic Thiem4,030
8Japan Kei Nishikori3,740
9Canada Milos Raonic3,310
10Bulgaria Grigor Dimitrov3,160
11Alexander Zverev3,070
12France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga2,805
13Belgium David Goffin2,605
14Czech Republic Tomas Berdych2,570
15Pablo Carreno Busta2,350
16France Gael Monfils2,275
17Lucas Pouille2,255
18Spain Roberto Bautista Agut2,245
19United States Jack Sock2,245
20United States John Isner2,045