The 25-year-old was as high as ninth in the world this time four years ago, however, everything fell apart when he was inadvertently embroiled in a performance drugs scandal last September, resulting in a nine-month ban and the loss of all ranking points accumulated during the period under investigation.
That was rightfully reduced to four months after it was made clear once more that Cilic had no intention of taking the drugs to enhance his play and he made his return at Brisbane this year.
After understandably taking some time to find his match-fitness in January, Cilic is now looking better than ever before, featuring in three consecutive finals in Zagreb, Rotterdam and last week in Delray Beach where he lifted the title to add to his home win in Croatia.
A defeat in the final in Holland to Tomas Berdych denied the 6ft 6” hitter a hat-trick of victories that even his Czech opponent wouldn’t have begrudged him, and for the rest of this season and beyond, his chances at the biggest events need to be taken seriously.
It was always going to go two ways for the Croat; he could have regressed after being dealt a bad hand or rose to the challenge he didn’t deserve to have to confront. Any tennis fans will be delighted he took the latter path.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina-born star has an unremarkable record in the Grand Slams, with his best fortnight coming at the 2010 Australian Open where he reached the semi-finals, however, such is his appetite for just playing, let alone winning at present, he needs to be involved in any outright conversations for Wimbledon and the US Open.
Currently 125/1 for SW19 glory and slightly bigger at 150/1 to go all the way in Flushing Meadows, Cilic looks like great value on current form, especially considering some of the no-hopers currently trading at shorter in the betting.
It’s great to see Cilic back and it could be could be even sweeter to watch come the second-half of the year with some shrewd ante-post investments made now.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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