SBS Radio App

Download the FREE SBS Radio App for a better listening experience

  • During day five of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 16, 2017 in London, England. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Unlike the women finalists where we saw many similarities in their career and personal lives, the men who are about to play the final match of the 2018 Australian Open have very little in common outside their passion and excellency in tennis.
By
Olga Klepova

27 Jan 2018 - 11:04 PM  UPDATED 28 Jan 2018 - 1:10 PM

The final stage of a Grand Slam is not a place to talk about the underdogs, players who reach that far have already proven their mastery and tenacity.

This year men finalists share a history of head-to-head matches going back to 2008 with Federer winning 8 out of 9 of them.

The world No. 2 and No. 6 Federer and Cilic enter the finals with strikingly different incentives – Roger to compete for his 20 Grand Slam title; Marin – to become the first Croatian player to win the Australian Open. 

Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic

Age:                        36              29

WTA-Ranking:         2                6

Grand Slam titles:  19               1

Prize Money:   $111,885,682    $20,919,276

Age does matter

Just before we all plunged into these 2 weeks of tennis, last year's winner said that ‘a 36-year-old should not be a favourite of a tournament’.

Despite the age Roger carried on taking major trophies. 

He already joined a small league of players who reached Grand Slam finals after they turned 35 and winning tonight would put Federer in an intimate company of only Ken Rosewall who won his last Australian Open at the of 37.

Shared history 

Cilic and Federer have played 9 head-to-head matches so far with the world No.2 leading 8 to 1.

The one win that Cilic claimed was in the US Open semi-finals in 2014. 

The most recent time the two played together was just in November during their holidays in Maldives.

Locked up in the islands, the pair seized the opportunity and went for 2 practices.

“It's great fun. No coaches, no nothing, just the two of us on the court hitting balls. It was just nice and laid back” – said Roger.

First time finalist of the AO

If Federer is more than familiar with the feeling of winning the Australian Open, he did it five times, for his opponent Marin Cilic it is the first final here.

His previous best result was in 2010 when he got to the semi-final of the AO.

On his way to the 2018 finals Marin defeated the last year runner-up Rafa Nadal in a five set match with the world No.1 retiring in the last set.

The Croatian who got engaged last year is staying positive after winning the semi-final against Kyle Edmund.

“I'm feeling really, really good physically, even though I had few matches that went more than three hours. But overall, feeling really good. I think I played great tournament so far with my level of tennis”.

Cilic already paved the path of fame for Croatian tennis becoming the first Croatian player to reach the finals at the AO.

Regardless of the result of the match, Marin will move up to his highest career ranking of 3rd, while Roger will keep his second position.

Ranking aside winning the match will be a significant milestone for both.

For Roger the 20th Grand Slam title is at stake and Cilic will fight for the first Croatian player to win the Australian Open.   

The men´s final takes place this Sunday, 7.30pm AEST.