What the Future Holds for Cilic, Nishikori After US Open
by Jeremy Davis | September 12th, 2014, 11:34 am

Marin Cilic beating Kei Nishikori in the US Open final, eliminating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively in the semifinals, shook up the men’s tennis world.
What does the next 14 months through the end of 2015 hold for both players? Besides loads of cash?

For breakthroughs sake, both players have been branded successes in part due to their high-profile coaches — Croatian countryman Goran Ivanisevic for Cilic, and fellow Asian Michael Chang for Nishikori.

Cilic has the greater upside rankings-wise over the next 14 months due to his imposing stature, a monster serve, great court coverage for a big man, and what led to his breakthrough, sidelining tactics for an aggressive match approach that makes his opponent have to worry about tactics.

Cilic’s bulldozing of Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer and Nishikori in straight sets showed it will be other players thinking about plan As, Bs and Cs going into matches against the Croat.

Nishikori faces greater obstacles to success than Cilic — mainly his physical stature, and the fact he is frequently injured. But his victories over Milos Raonic and Novak Djokovic at the US Open, coming after a couple long, draining matches, was nothing short of incredible and shows that will-to-win and confidence “X Factor” that many players lack.

Don’t look for the “Big 4” Era to come to an end, reading all the media stories on how Cilic and Nishikori have ushered in a new era. Federer is still formidable, Djokovic will get over his post-marriage funk, Rafael Nadal will likely return like a hurricane, and Andy Murray is still not 100 percent after injuries.

“That they are great champions, and it’s going to take so much to break them and to break the finals of a Grand Slam or to be able to win it,” Cilic said. “And I would say I was also a little bit lucky here. There was no Rafa. And I had a good draw. I didn’t play Novak or Andy or those guys.”

Cilic collected $3 million for his US Open win, while Nishikori will further bolster his off-court portfolio, one of the largest in tennis, that includes That Uniqlo, Wilson, Adidas, Delta Airlines, and a slew of others.

They are now both firmly entrenched in the Top 10. Both Cilic and Nishikori will likely qualify for the year-end championships and feature in the Top 10 for the next 12 months, but can they be Top 3 material by this time next year? Or out of the Top 10? You tell us.

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24 Comments for What the Future Holds for Cilic, Nishikori After US Open

Brando Says:

Top 3 next year? Highly, highly doubt it. One day though maybe Kei can, but I can’t say I believe that with complete confidence. Top 10 next year? Absolutely for sure. Both are a breath of fresh and the top really: young, talented, big match players that are genuine threats for GS titles unlike the likes of Ferrer, Berdych who whilst I respect and like are NEVER really true threats for the title or to the elite players. Cilic and Kei are, have shown it and the game is alot better now due to them stepping up. Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Wawrinka, Del Potro, Cilic as Grand Slam winners with the likes of Nishikori, Dimitrov and Raonic bubbling just below is a genuinely exciting top 10 for me.

bbsocrates Says:

WOW! After those last 3 matches, Cilic looked unbeatable. I believe he can be at the top of the sport if he puts everything into it. Reminds me of Sampras.

Kei is a good guy. I think he hopes to emulate coach Chang’s career. Someone who could pop through at a grand slam, but realistically a consistent performer week in and week out with potential to win some Master 1000s and qualify for Masters ever year. Needs to get stronger to avoid the injury bug.

Okiegal Says:


That’s exactly what I stated on another thread……week in and week out…..this is the big question….. can they be consistent like the big “4”….and yes I am considering Andy to being in that elite group.

Colin Says:

Nishikori has been plagued by injuries and most likely will continue to be. Howeever, what’s the betting Cilic will not find himself in the same situation before he’s much older? Think of that other big, hard-hiting player, Del Potro.

Think also of Cilic’s coach, Ivanesevic. His serve, the most impressive I have ever seen, seemed simple and effortless, but even as he was winning his Wimbledon title,he was already struggling with shoulder problems.

If one of these new stars retires early with physical issues, I reckon it could be Cilic rather than Nishikori.

Colin Says:

Or even hard-HITTING!

Wog boy Says:

Colin, Ivanisevic didn’t win Wimbledon title, Rafter lost it.

Colin Says:

Wog boy, do you think the Wimbledon authorities are going to read your posting on this forum, and promptly scrub Goran’s name from the records?

Even allowing for your asterisk, even reaching the final was a remarkable achievement on his part, considering he’d hardly won a match all year.

Besides. it’s nothing to do with the point I was making.

FedExpress Says:

Where the hell is davydenko nowadays???

never recovered from the choke at AO 2010????

Wog boy Says:

Colin, you didn’t get it, chill out, no need for jerk reaction. To borrow Sean’s line, Goran had no business of winning that match, but knowing your love for Aussies I can see your point.
No wonder Aussies consider Poms arrogant.

Giles Says:

Poster from down under always looking for a fight. Geez!!
Goran won Wimbledon. Rafter lost Wimbledon. Pretty simple ain’t it??

Polo Says:

Iis there a more cliched and useless phrase than “X did not win the match, Y lost it”?

the DA Says:

“And I would say I was also a little bit lucky here. There was no Rafa. And I had a good draw. I didn’t play Novak or Andy or those guys.”

Again a very astute (and revealing) observation from Marin. I think it reveals the mindset of most players: i.e ‘I might beat one of them, but 2 or 3 in a row is nigh on impossible’. Very few would acknowledge their fortune in the draw. That’s one of the qualities I like about Cilic, his candor.

Wog boy Says:

my post at 8:11am should say “knee jerk reaction” and not “jerk reaction”.

Colin Says:

Wog boy (an unfortunate choice of name by the way), what on earth are you talking about? When have I ever expressed any blanket like or dislike of Aussie players?

Hewitt, for much of his career has been pretty unpopular with his countrymen, though now he’s past winning big titles they are mellowing a little. I base that claim not on my imagination, but on postings on the Aussie Sportal forums. Tomic is unpopular for well-documented reasons. At present there are high hopes for Kyrgios, but let him put a foot wrong, and they’ll be on him like a ton of bricks, because Aussie “sports fans” are harsher on their own than most nationalities. I put that in quotes because they often seem to be more interested in betting than in sport itself.

It does seem that the forum attracts the worst elements of Australia (almost always male, which itself tells you something). I have been to Australia twice, and my son is now an Australian citizen, so I know that they aren’t really a nation of Les Pattersons. The “arrogance” you speak of is displayed much more by the Aussies themselves (online, anyway) who bang on endlessly about whinging Poms, when they themselves are the biggest whingers on the face of the earth. Look like it has infected you, too.

For myself, I never found Hewitt very pleasant as a person, but I have the greatest admiration for his fighting spirit and will to win. I have no strong feelings about Rafter as in his day there was no internet, and UK television was restricted to Wimbledon, so I never saw much of him.

Wog boy Says:

Colin, fair enough, it was a knee jerk reaction on my side, I retract what I said.

Okiegal Says:

I always loved Rafter and Rusty. I thought it was funny when Pat would miss a ball toss when serving and he would always apologize by saying ” Sorry, mate”! He had a pleasant personality. I liked Rusty because of his passion he showed on the court, never giving up! Two of my favorite Aussies……I’m still pondering my feelings regarding Kyrgios……if you get my drift!! Lol

Wog boy Says:

Oki, Pat Rafter was a gentleman and still is, Rusty was never my cup of tea but I admire his love for tennis and his competitiveness.
I, personally, was disappointed when he found the reason not to attend his sister’s wedding after his parents refuse to attend the wedding because she was getting married for Australian of Lebanese background who was proud of his heritage, little bit of redneck thing if you ask me. Funniest thing is that his coach was Roger Rasheed, who is also of Lebanese background.


Okiegal Says:

@Wog boy……..You gave me some info on Rusty I never had heard about…..I am put off by that a little bit….I’m surprised this day in time, usually anything goes! That is funny since his former coach was Lebanese. When he’s playing, I always find myself cheering for him. Pat always seemed like a great guy. I cheered for him a lot in the old days. He was cute too…..the first pony tailed guy I ever liked!

Okiegal Says:

OU Sooners 20……Tennessee Volunteers 7…..sorry to bring in football on the tennis forum, but I think it’s all right since the tennis commentator Chris Fowler is doing the commentating…..

Alexandra Says:

I don’t see both guys, Cilic and Nishikori, as consistent as the big 4. So the top 3 ranking seems a bit too optimistic for me. Top 10, yes sure. Wawrinka wasn’t the most consistent player either since he won AO. So no, I really can’t see that. They will have to prove they can do it week in and week out.

Colin Says:

Wasn’t there an instance where Hewitt, incensed by a line call, said something like “Look at him”, the line judge and Hewitt’s opponent being black? If I’ve mis-remembered that and it was someone else, apologies to Hewitt and his fans.

Hippy Chic Says:

Wow just returned to civilisation(if one can call it that on tennis-x,as nothing changes here lol)after my break,camping in the middle of nowhere,i actually bought a newspaper from the local shop last Sunday,and was absolutely gobsmacked to read that we would be having not one,but two first time finalists in a GS in Cilic and Nishikori,wow just wow who wouldve seen that one coming?no Federer,no Nadal(ok not playing),no Djokovic,no Murray????WTF,i bet most wouldve seen at least one of them making the final.
Anyway congrats to both,i just saw the highlights of the final,and i think Kei had such an amazing run,that he probably ran out of steam in the end?hes an amazing talent and i hope he too gets one eventually,from what i saw of Marin he looked amazing in the final so no disgrace,i dont know what this means going forward,and if things are changing at the top,but mens tennis just got alot more interesting thats for sure??

Okiegal Says:

@Chic……The thread in which I was a bad girl is:
“Federer Wins a Comeback Shocker Over Monfils”.

Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal yeah i did find it,never mind whats done is done,dont beat yourself up about it,people say far worse on here with no apologies what so ever, put it this way there are no saints here….

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