Roger Federer admits 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic will prove a formidable opponent in Wednesday’s quarter-finals even though the colourful Croatian retired 12 years ago.
Ivanisevic masterminded compatriot Marin Cilic’s US Open title triumph in 2014, a victory which also saw him blast Federer off the court in the semi-finals.
That stunning triumph was Cilic’s only Slam title and his 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Federer remains his only one against the Swiss star in six meetings.
“I love Goran,” said Federer.
Ivanisevic has been in Cilic’s corner as coach since 2013.
In that time, the 27-year-old has made three straight Wimbledon quarter-finals as well as the semi-finals at last year’s US Open.
“Goran’s done a wonderful job with Marin. I think he’s a very easy guy to work with. But he got him to the next level,” added Federer.
“I think that’s a credit to Goran and Marin listening, believing in himself that he could play this big.
“I don’t know if he himself believed he could actually win a Grand Slam. A lot of credit to himself, but also Goran for getting him there.”
Federer is still bruised by that US Open defeat, recalling how it felt to see his hopes of a sixth title at the tournament blasted away.
On Wednesday, the 34-year-old is prepared to face down another barrage from a man who has so far hit 76 aces at this year’s Wimbledon and been broken just three times.
“He blew me off the court at the US Open. I know what I’m getting into,” said seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer who will be playing in a record-equalling 14th quarter-final at the event.
“Everything he touched went in. It was all right, here is a chance, boom. Maybe here is another chance, boom. That’s kind of how it was for three straight sets.
“I didn’t play poorly in any way. It was just all on his racquet. It was very seldom that I was blown off the court like that. It was unbelievably impressive.”
Cilic, the ninth seed, made the quarter-finals when Japan’s Kei Nishikori retired with a rib injury in Monday’s fourth round.
Nishikori was his opponent in the final of the US Open in 2014.
Cilic, who has never faced Federer on grass, believes he can draw on that win in New York as he attempts to make the semi-finals at the All England Club for the first time.
“I can just look back at that match and know what things I was doing really well,” he said.
“Definitely since I’m working with Goran, we made, you know, three quarters in a row, which I have never done before. That’s a sign that we are working well.”