When Marin Cilic claimed the 2014 US Open crown, the amount of punters who had backed him pre-tournament could probably have all squeezed onto a mini bus.
Although the towering Croat could consider himself among the men’s elite players before Flushing Meadows, the era of ‘big four’ domination rendered Cilic, even at number 16 in the official ATP rankings, a huge outsider for the season’s final major.
Cilic defied both the odds and the likes of a resurgent Roger Federer in the semis to become the lowest ranked man since Gaston Gaudio (44) at the French Open a decade earlier, to win a Grand Slam title.
It can be done. Heading into Wimbledon and Stanislas Wawrinka has already upset the apple cart once more, with victory at Roland Garros, albeit he had laid the foundations with his unexpected Australian Open triumph in 2014.
The grass courts of SW19 have also thrown up a few shocks down the years, not least when Dutchman Richard Krajicek found a way to slice through Pete Sampras’ Wimbledon stranglehold back in 1996, paving the way for fellow one-timer Goran Ivanisevic five years later.
Unfortunately for Cilic, whose strong serve-volley game is perfectly suited to the grass, his season has been affected by a shoulder injury, which has contributed to a disappointing record of 10 wins and nine losses across all surfaces.
His odds of 50/1 are still pretty plump given the former Queens champion took reigning Wimbledon title holder Novak Djokovic to five sets during their quarter-final last year.
However, there is another man in the draw at 100/1, who has already beaten Cilic twice on the green stuff since the French, losing to Rafael Nadal in the Stuttgart final before coming off second best to Andy Murray in his semi at Queens.
Serbian Viktor Troicki is currently at world number 24, off the back of a fine ATP Tour season to date, but had reached the heights of 12th last year.
Given his recent performances on the grass, Troicki is one name the big guns will be looking to swerve and punters may want to consider for a speculative dabble.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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