"It's a number that I honestly didn't think I'd get to or be close to", Federer said of No 20. After two days, he wrote to me: "I'm here, too, in case you want to catch up and stuff, let me know". We also met up later for drinks, I met his fiancee. We had cake together, my whole family and him. It's not like we're hanging out all the time, but our paths crossed a few times. Federer said they practised twice for about 45 minutes.
"It's great fun. No coaches, no nothing, just the two of us on the court hitting balls".
"It was just the two of us", Federer said with one of his goofy baritone laughs.
Federer has won the last three matches, and his only loss to Cilic came in the 2014 US Open. "He [Cilic] brings power, he brings everything", said Federer, who defeated Cilic in the Wimbledon final - a match that left the Croatian reduced to tears with a blister problem.
Cilic has a 1-8 head-to-head record against Federer but his sole victory came in the U.S. Open semi-final in 2014 when the six-foot-six powerhouse went on to claim his maiden grand slam title against Japan's Kei Nishikori.
"I'm very excited to play Chung".
Federer knows the feeling.
The world No. 2 was in complete control, going a double-break up when an overexuberant Chung was off target with a forehand and fizzing a cross-court forehand victor past the youngster to take the opening set in just over half an hour. You can see it on the way he behaves on the court. Because he has played so many matches in the row, I think that's why it was a build-up. I like that attitude.
Bearing the head to head record in mind, and these serve and return percentages, my model calculated Federer's price to be [1.22] to take his 20th Grand Slam title, also establishing that for him to have actionable value, he'd need to be available at [1.29] or greater.
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"I'm pleased that my game has been good from the very beginning of the tournament so far".
Ciic comes to the title match after advancing into the semi-finals after playing Rafael Nadal hard for four sets before the Spaniard retired with a thigh injury. Cilic has had an extra day of rest but Federer was hardly taxed on Friday night, and occupied for only an hour.
"I just have to play a good match, at this point it's not about having to improve anything in particular". "I don't think about I'm not going to play today".
Hopes of a repeat of that epic were dashed when Nadal retired hurt in the fifth set of his quarter-final with Cilic on Tuesday, although nothing should be taken away from the Croatian sixth seed, who crunched a mind-boggling 83 winners.
"It was on me that I couldn't give my best in Wimbledon and that happens even with Rafa towards the end of the match and with Kyle - he had a small injury or fatigue towards the end of the match - those things happen".
"But for me it's great to again be in the final, giving myself another opportunity to win a grand slam".
"Overall consistently I'm playing better".
"I was like, Sure, let me know if you want to hit. Now I feel this level of tennis I can sustain it".