Marin Cilic Says Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic Are Similar in Intensity but Roger Federer Thinks Differently

Published 02/26/2021, 2:30 PM EST
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerlan wait to go on stage during the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf=Astoria on in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


There are hardly a few players who have defeated have the trio of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. The ‘Big Three’ have surely maintained their hegemony in the sport for over a decade now, and it is difficult to beat them all individually. However, Marin Cilic is one such player who has beaten them all, and he recently revealed what is different about them.

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In a recent podcast, Marin Cilic disclosed the special abilities of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. He also talked about his experience playing against the ‘Big Three’.

Marin Cilic plays the ball. Photo: Jonas Güttler/dpa (Photo by Jonas Güttler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

“I would say, for example, Rafa and Novak are pretty similar in their intensity,” began Cilic. “They play every single point like it’s a match point… Roger is more focused on change of pace, change of speed, relying a lot of his game on a fast game, great serve, great forehand, you know, just mixing up the game and playing aggressive tennis.”

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Cilic clearly appreciated Federer greatly. He also said that Federer used to play some really fast and athletic tennis, and that is his strength.

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates victory with the trophy after the Gentlemen’s Singles final against Marin Cilic of Croatia. Day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“I will change the attribute fast to athletic, very athletic tennis, in terms of stepping to the court, coming to the net, being really, really quick. His movements, his sharpness is incredible,” said the US Open 2014 winner on the Swiss Maestro.

“Best guys in tennis that create pressure”: Cilic on Novak Djokovic and Nadal

Cilic believes that one feels a lot of pressure while playing against Djoker or Rafa. He even cited an incident from the Australian Open 2021 final to support his argument.

“Novak and Rafa are the best in tennis that create pressure. For example, if you watched yesterday, the match with Medvedev. Novak, from the first point, was putting pressure on Daniil and it’s a constant pressure. You are always feeling like he’s pushing you,” added the Croatian player.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after winning the match point during their final singles match daring day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Cilic also highlighted that in order to beat the ‘Big Three,’ one has to bear the pressure for a very long time. “When you are playing Grand Slam matches against them, there are four hours, five hours to be able to match them up. So, in my opinion, those are the things that they are doing extremely well and plus on top of that, their abilities,” he concluded.

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Cilic has revealed many startling things that make the ‘Big Three’ really incredible players. Will Cilic be able to beat them all once again in a future Grand Slam?

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Anshul Singh

827 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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