Nasty blister led to Cilic's Wimbledon downfall and Centre Court tears
A blister that surfaced during his semi-final victory over Sam Querrey led to Marin Cilic's downfall in the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer on Sunday.
The big-serving Croatian was noticeably playing below his normal level as Federer wrapped up an eighth title at SW19 in one hour and 41 minutes, the Swiss winning 6-3 6-1 6-4.
His troubles came to a head early in the second set when he broke down in tears at the change of ends, but exactly what was behind Cilic's anguish remained unclear.
Cilic also took a medical time out in the second set when he received treatment on his left foot, and, although he managed to play on, beating Federer on Centre Court proved a challenge too far.
The 28-year-old described his experience as "unfortunate" and revealed he had been battling the blister for 30 hours before the final.
"I got a really bad blister. Even I felt it in the match with Querrey in the semis. Fluid just came down under my callous in the foot," he said.
"I want to thank the physios here. They helped. The last 30 hours, they were just constantly almost with me. They did as much as they could, but unfortunately I still felt the pain.
"Every time I had to do a reaction fast, fast change of movement, I was unable to do that.
"Obviously was very tough emotionally because I know how much I went through last few months in preparation with everything. It was also tough because of my own team. They did so much for me. I just felt it was really bad luck.
"For me was actually very difficult to focus on the match, as well, as my mind was all the time blocked with the pain. It was tough for me to focus on the tactics, on the things that I needed to do.
"I wasn't serving very good because of that. Also, you know, I was just not able to set up properly on the balls. It was very, very tough to deal with it."
Despite his injury diminishing some of his power, Cilic insisted it should not take away from Federer's sensational achievement - the 35-year-old lifting a 19th grand slam and record eighth Wimbledon title.
"I didn't have actually time on the court also to congratulate Roger," he said.
"I don't want to put down his victory in any way. I mean, he deserved it completely. These things are part of the sport.
"I think his ability and his desire to continue to improve is definitely one of the best in the game.
"Even at age that he is at now, he's still improving, still challenging himself to get better and better. All credit to him and his team that they find ways to get him better and to another level.
"He is really a great gentleman, extremely one of the biggest ambassadors of tennis."