Monte Carlo, Monaco
Seeded 14th at the 2014 U.S. Open, Marin Cilic went on a remarkable run en route to his first career Grand Slam title. The Croatian defeated Tomas Berdych and Roger Federer in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, before sweeping Kei Nishikori in the final. About a month after his triumph in Flushing Meadows, the 6’6” Cilic rose to No. 8 in the world. At the end of that year he qualified for the ATP Barclays World Tour Finals, but lost to Novak Djokovic, Berdych and Stan Wawrinka in round-robin matches. He’s been a model of consistency, winning at least one title every year from 2008-15. Cilic prefers to play on grass courts and hard courts, though he’s said he’s comfortable on all surfaces. In 2013, Cilic was suspended for failing a drug test. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ended up reducing his ban from nine months to four.
In the 2014 U.S. Open final, Cilic dominated Kei Nishikori, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3: