Supercoaches are the hot trend in tennis, especially on the ATP, but they have been proven to be something less than permanent.
On Thursday, Marin Cilic announced via Facebook that he and former player Goran Ivanisevic have ended their three year partnership, saying “It was huge privilege to work with Goran, I enjoyed our work all this time and Goran helped me to reach many goals. Unfortunately, the road we were sharing on this journey is separating and I wish only the best for Goran in the future.”
As Cilic notes, the duo started working together in the fall of 2013. Time off the tour forced by a doping suspension for a banned stimulant (he denied guilt) allowed them time together to work on Cilic’s game, which saw him emerge with a serve more befitting a man of his tall stature.
A red-hot Cilic went on to win the 2014 U.S. Open in what remains arguably the most anomalous result in the past decade of men’s tennis. While the Croat had been time in the top 10 and owned a handful of Grand Slam quarterfinals, including making the semis at the 2010 Australian Open, the win in New York has not propelled him. He has done little since, with just two titles (both at the relatively small Kremlin Cup in Russia) and still never making the semis of a Masters 1000.
Though he also won just one Slam, the colorful Ivanisevic is a legend back in Croatia. Ranked well outside the top 100 due to injuries, an aging Ivanisevic received a wild card to Wimbledon in 2001 thanks to his previous appearances in the final (which included fifth set losses to Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras) and went on to win the tournament over Pat Rafter in one of the most famous matches in tennis history.
Cilic recently let a Wimbledon semifinal slip through his grasp, losing to Roger Federer despite being up two sets and holding match points. The first loss from two sets up in his whole career, Cilic lost in that situation again last week in the Davis Cup quarterfinals to American Jack Sock. Cilic rebounded, however, winning doubles and singles matches without any rest days, which powered Croatia to a stunning comeback on U.S. soil.
Soon to be 28, Cilic remains the youngest Grand Slam holder in men’s tennis.