The Queen's Club, London: 10 - 16 June 2013
The Aegon Championships trophy will have a new name engraved on it on Sunday as 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian takes on sixth seed Marin Cilic of Croatia.
For Nalbandian, it will be a first grass court final since that Wimbledon loss to Lleyton Hewitt a decade ago, following a tesing last couple of years including nine months out with a hip injury which required surgery.
“I’m very happy. I'm playing this tournament a few times, and I never reached the final. So I’m happy to be tomorrow on the court, and I hope to be ready.”
Cilic has had a close affinity with the Aegon Championships ever since receiving a wild card in 2007. He made the most of it that year, beating Tim Henman, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and reaching the quarterfinals, but this is his first appearance in a final. The big-serving Croatian was spotted as a youngster by Goran Ivanisevic, and then introduced to legendary coach Bob Brett, who remains his guide today. Cillic beat the 2010 champion Sam Querrey in the semifinals.
Nalbandian leads their head-to-head 4-1, but Cilic won their most recent encounter, a five set Davis Cup bruiser earlier this year on clay in Argentina. It was a huge victory for Cilic, who lost a Davis Cup clash between them in straight sets six years earlier. Just to add a little spice to Sunday’s final at The Queen's Club, Cilic revealed that he used to find Nalbandian intimidating.
“I know when I first played him I was 17 and it was actually my first live Davis Cup rubber,” said Cilic. “He was pretty intimidating. Warming up he just puts the ball a little harder and tries to show that he can accelerate and to push you a little bit to become more nervous. But, you know, now it's different. When you are at that age it's not easy.”
The singles final takes place at 2pm local time, with a mouthwatering doubles final to follow - a rematch of the French Open decider between top seeds Max Mirnyi/Daniel Nestor, and the No.2 pair Bob/Mike Bryan. Mirnyi/Nestor won that clash in the final of Roland Garros, but the Bryan Brothers, who have won the Aegon Championships title four times, will be out for revenge.
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Find out more about AEGON Championships finalist Marin Cilic as he answers questions in The Jaguar Road to Queen's.
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