During his two events in China, Marin Cilic did not look like his US Open self. Fact is he may never look like that again. He might be relegated to the list of one-slam wonders that includes Gaston Gaudio and Thomas Johannson. He might also have other deep runs, but be stuck at a single slam a la Juan-Carlos Ferrero or Michael Chang. Cilic’s 2-2 record in China gives us little to go on though. Losing to Andy Murray is not shocking even if it was a bit one-sided. Losing to Ivo Karlovic means he lost to countryman who may be the most awkward match-up for anyone on tour. Most Slam Champions have a period of adjustment after winning a first major title. Patrick Rafter won the 1997 US Open and lingered for much of 1998 until the North American hard court summer hit. Petr Korda won the 1998 Australian Open and then fell off of the tennis map. Either fate could await Mr.
More recently we saw Stanislas Wawrinka breakthrough this year as well. Stan struggled a bit after the Australian Open even if he collected the title in Monte Carlo. He then played well at Wimbledon and the US Open winning some matches in which he showed fire and losing competitive quarterfinal matches at each event. Stan is not a top threat at the 2015 majors, but he’s well positioned among the growing second tier of contenders.
Getting used to these things tends to take time
Even Novak Djokovic seemed to need time to reorient his mind after winning Wimbledon this year. Rafael Nadal has not had a great stretch since winning Roland Garros this year. The impact those titles had on Nole and Rafa is only amplified by a first time slam winner such as Wawrinka or Cilic. I am not expecting Cilic to take the tour by storm in 2015. However, if he plays like he did in New York, he will be a big factor in any event he enters. Cilic may need 3-6 more months to adjust to his new status on tour, but if he does he’ll be in a spot like that of Wawrinka. If he doesn’t, he can text us and let us know what happened to Petr Korda.