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KEY DATES FOR WIMBLEDON 2017

Qualifying begins: 26 June

The Draw: 30 June

Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July

Order of Play: 2 July

Championships begin: 3 July

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News
Sunday, 16 July 2017 10:28 AM BST
Cilic primed for Federer showdown
Croatian looking for second Grand Slam to add to US Open in 2014 READ MORE

There will be ball kids at the All England Club who can't remember anyone other than Andy MurrayRoger FedererRafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic winning the men's singles title.

But they, and others too, have to be prepared for the possibility that the Fab Four's 14-year domination of the Centre Court lawn might come to an end on Sunday, with an energised Marin Cilic saying how lifting that pineapple-topped trophy "would absolutely mean the world to me". For encouragement, Cilic can look back to the first time he broke up a Big Four party, when he won his first Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open - that run, in New York, included a straight-sets victory over Federer in the semi-final.

"They have set the bar really high at most of the Grand Slams, but especially at this one. None of the other players have managed it," Cilic said, looking ahead to playing Federer for the title. "When I won the US Open, it just opened so many possibilities in my mind for the rest of my career. It would absolutely be a dream come true to win Wimbledon."

It would absolutely be a dream come true to win Wimbledon

- Marin Cilic

To win that US Open title, Cilic needed to beat Japan's Kei Nishikori, in a meeting of Grand Slam final debutants. The difficulty here for Cilic, after making the second Sunday for the first time, is that his opponent is appearing in his 11th Wimbledon final, and seeking to become the first man to win eight singles titles on the grass. Plus, in Cilic's own analysis, Federer will be playing on his "home court".

"I would say his game is almost perfectly suited to grass. On a grass court, on Centre Court, he's really fluid with his shots and he plays aggressive tennis. He's got that natural ability with his movement that he can play fast, and he can accelerate and decelerate as well," said Cilic, who defeated America's Sam Querrey to become only the second Croatian man to reach a Wimbledon final, the first being 2001 champion Goran Ivanisevic.

It's not just that grass is to Federer's liking: he is also bound to have most of the crowd with him. Federer must be the first tennis player in history who, irrespective of where he is on the map, always competes in front of a 'home' crowd. And nowhere is that phenomenon more apparent than in this part of south west London.

Head to Head

Roger Federer
Marin Cilic
SUI
Roger Federer
Singles Ranking5
Doubles Ranking0
CRO
Marin Cilic
Singles Ranking6
Doubles Ranking103

Event Statistics

  1R 2R 3R 4R QF SF F   1R 2R 3R 4R QF SF F
Sets played  
Tie breaks played  
Total games  
Winners  
Unforced errors  
Service points won  
Return games won  
Total points  
1st serves in  
% 1st serves in  
Total aces  
Total double faults  
1st serve points won  
% 1st serve points won  
% 2nd Serve points won  

Even when Federer played Murray in the 2012 final, the Wimbledon crowd didn't adore Federer any less, so you can imagine that many of the 15,000 spectators for this year's title match are also going to be committed Fed-heads.

Still, Cilic so very nearly beat Federer on his "home court" last summer, taking the first two sets of their quarter-final and also holding match points before the Swiss came back to win in five. "At the critical moments, my mindset and picking the shots wasn't the best, but I have learned from that," Cilic said.

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