Croatia, the last champion of the old davis cup format
After 118 years of history, the Davis Cup has come to an end, at least in the traditional format. Croatia, with Marin Cilic’s help, will be remembered as the last country who conquered the tournament’s last edition. They disputed the last of four points, against France representative Lucas Pouille (7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-3), a success that allows them to forget the disappointment occurred in Zagreb against Argentina two years ago.
Two years later, Cilic, current number seven in the world, redeemed himself at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille against Pouille, the player with the best ranking of the French team, chosen at the last minute by Yannick Noah instead of Jeremy Chardy.
Cilic had a tough first set, where he had two break points, it had to be defined in tie break, where Croatia was more solid, and took advantage on the scoreboard.
The Croatian number one was gaining confidence, and little by little he imposed the conditions to set the pace of the match.
Breaking in the sixth game of the second set, Cilic put out the local’s spirit and turned on the euphoria of the Balkan fans, including President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
The taste of glory increased after the Balkan broke his rival service in the fifth game of the last set. In the ninth game and with Cilic in service, the Frenchman Pouille saved two match points, but the Croatian, with a lob, ended the match.
Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic were the main responsible of Croatia’s first Davis Cup championship. Thirteen years later Croatia was crowned champion again, with Marin Cilic and Borna Coric as main actors.
Croatia writes the last chapter of the old format of the Davis Cup. 2019 will witness the new format, the tournament will be played in Madrid during a single week in November, where the 18 best nations will meet.