Marin Cilic said a painful blister on his left foot contributed to his Wimbledon tears on Sunday as he slipped to a straight sets defeat to Roger Federer in the final.

“I got a bad blister in the semi-final against Sam Querrey,” said Cilic after his 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 loss. “The physios here helped me over the last 30 hours. They were with me constantly and did as much as they could. But I still felt the pain. It was all very tough emotionally.”

Cilic explained that his tears at 3-0 down in the second set were more a result of his disappointment at not being able to perform at his best rather than a legacy of the pain.

Federer backs Cilic

Federer saluted Wimbledon ‘hero’ Cilic after the Croatian was reduced to tears during Sunday’s emotional final.

Hobbled by a foot problem suffered in the first set, Cilic wept inconsolably on Centre Court midway through the second set after calling for medical attention. The former US Open champion gamely played through the pain for the rest of a one-sided final before wiping away more tears during the trophy presentation.

Cheered by the capacity crowd, including Hollywood actors Bradley Cooper and Hugh Grant, Cilic was given a glowing tribute by eight-time champion Federer.

“It’s cruel sometimes. He fought well. He’s a hero, congrats on a wonderful tournament Marin,” Federer said. “You should be really proud, it’s such a special occasion to play in a final. I hope we can play some better ones down the road. Well done.”