Roger Federer has made it through to his 11th Wimbledon final on Friday afternoon when he defeated Thomas Berdych in straight sets 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 at the All England Club.
The Swiss master was too good for Berdych, showing his class on Centre Court as he edged one match closer to his 8th Wimbledon title.
For Federer to achieve that feat he will have to get past Croatian Marin Čilić, who beat Sam Querrey earlier in the day to reach his first ever Wimbledon final.
“I feel very privileged to be in another final. I can’t believe it’s true”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 14, 2017
Federer will not have to look far for some inside knowledge on the US Open winner as his coach, Ivan Ljubičić, is a fellow Croatian and good friend.
The Croatian v Croatian-coached match-up is set to be an exciting match.
Last year it was Federer who knocked Čilić out in the quarter-final of Wimbledon, which was their last match the two played.
“I was down two sets to love and I had to get lucky to win. Marin is a lovely guy and I am happy for him that he has made his first Wimbledon final,” Federer said after today’s win, reminding himself that Čilić knocked him out on his way to the US Open title.
Federer failed to go on and win the title, however, that year, making it four years since he last won the title in London.
After he was plagued with injury, many had written Federer off thinking his best was past him. Even Federer himself thought he may never play on Centre Court at Wimbledon again.
Federer then employed the former Croatian World No.3 and it all changed. Since taking over from Stefan Edberg, Ljubičić has managed to help the Swiss find the form that saw him dominate men’s tennis from 2003 to 2010.
Federer would come back from injury to win the 2017 Australian Open, his first Grand Slam title since 2012. His win-loss record for 2017 is 30-2 and lifted the title at Halle for a ninth time in the Wimbledon warm-up.
Ljubičić and Federer were close mates on the tour and the pair worked hard during his time off after he undertook arthroscopic surgery for a knee injury.
“I always believe there are new things you can learn, but there’s always sometimes a way of staying motivated, staying hungry. Someone like Ivan can also help do that,” Federer said when Ljubičić joined his team.
“I can do a lot by myself, but I need my support team to push me the last 1%, 5%, 10%, whatever it is because I’m not in the same mood every single day.”
In his 15-year playing career, Ljubičić won 10 ATP titles, the Davis Cup for Croatia and a bronze medal with Mario Ančić in the doubles at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
He got into coaching after his retirement in 2013 and was the coach for two years of Miloš Raonić, who he helped guide to the semi-final of Wimbledon in 2014 and as high as No.4 in the world.
Čilić will be hoping to emulate the feat of his countryman Goran Ivanišević, who won Wimbledon in 2001.
Ironically it was Goran who coached Marin when he won his debut Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2014.
Whatever happens on Sunday afternoon at the All England Club there will be some Croatian connection with the winner.