Croatia's Marin Cilic has surprised all who put him down after a doping ban. Cilic triumphed at Flushing Meadows over Kei Nishikori, the first man from Asia to reach a Slam final, in a surprise US Open win. The 25-year-old Cilic eased past Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in his first major final after 27 previous Grand Slam appearances.
Cilic demonstrated dramatically improved forehand and remarkable poise to take home $3 million in addition to the trophy. The 25-year-old Croatian tested positive for the prohibited stimulant Nikethamide. The ITF originally sought a suspension of two years before settling on the nine-month ban that was reduced to four months last October. It was contended by Cilic and his team that no Nikethamide was in the sample and the tennis star was sanctioned on a strict reading of the rules. The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced his doping ban to four months.
At that time, ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti remarked the ITF respects the decision of the CAS tribunal, who agreed that an anti-doping rule violation has been committed and also said we await the full decision to better understand CAS's reasoning for reducing the sanction. CAS called the original punishment "too severe." It was remarked by a three-person CAS panel that the degree of fault committed by the athlete was inferior to that established in the original decision. CAS said on its website the panel also determined that the sanction imposed was too severe in view of the degree of fault and concluded that it should be reduced to four months.
After being banned, Cilic decided to rebuild his game and fitness. Cilic told reporters it was a difficult period for him but it was also good period for him as he matured a bit more and he was working day after day. During this emotionally turbulent time, Cilic decided to reach out to Goran Ivanisevic, Croatia’s only male Grand Slam champion and this association made Cilic made a return to the game with a vengeance.
Last week, Cilic remarked it angered me how all the process went because it was not fair to me and added that it wouldn't be fair to any tennis player. The Croatian however remarked he just used the positive parts, which made him tougher and added he felt that he was more directed to the goals he wanted and just with a great atmosphere in his team. Cilic also said he feels the ban helped him to gain much more in all different areas.
Roger Federer, after falling to Cilic on Saturday, said he was not all uncomfortable with Cilic’s situation. Federer remarked he truly believed Cilic didn't do anything wrong in the sense that he did it on purpose. Federer went on to add that he thinks Cilic was becoming the player he is already way before that, so from that standpoint no problem for him.
Marin Cilic has won 12 ATP singles titles and rose to prominence when he won the 2010 Chennai Open final by defeating Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in straight sets.