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September 6, 2015

Marin Cilic

New York, NY, USA

M. CILIC/J. Chardy

6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A tough one again today. Do you think the third set was really the key? You looked not your best out there and fought in the breaker, and after that you really went.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, even first set, I won the first set, but I wasn't playing that well today. I was able to find better consistency on my serve today. I think that was something very positive.

It was also a bit cooler to play in the shadow comparing to outside. It's a bit heavier conditions so the ball wasn't flying as much. I think it was a bit better for Jeremy in those kind of conditions, as he was hitting pretty big still. With his serve it was causing me a bit more trouble to get some returns back.

Yeah, I felt, as you are saying, the third set was definitely the deciding one. I just found really great rhythm on my serve towards the end of the third set, and from that point on I was serving really, really good.

I was feeling extremely comfortable on my serve, and any time I need it I was being able to find really good serves.

So that was extremely, extremely positive.

Q. Does Ashe court, does the stadium feel different this year?
MARIN CILIC: For the playing-wise I don't feel much of a difference. Of course there is no wind in there. I played two matches now in the Ashe Stadium. There was no wind or barely a little bit.

But I always sort of feel better on Ashe rather than on Armstrong, because Armstrong seems very, very wide and like a bit different conditions. Just a personal feeling, but different.

But Ashe is definitely very nice to play.

Q. And with the partial roof thing it creates different shadows. Is that pretty tricky? I would think particularly receiving from shade to sun or vice versa.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, very, very tough, I would say.

Actually, I started to play really good tennis when there was full court and sun. In the first two sets, the conditions were, as I said, a bit slower, a bit heavier. You know, you feel the ball stays a bit more on the strings.

So that's a bit different. Then you have to adjust to it. Of course with the vision, especially when playing a guy who is serving big, it's not easy to find the right point of impact on the return.

Q. There is another Frenchman next time. He just had a press conference here like half an hour ago, and he says he has to get prepared because you beat him a couple of times before. What about you? Is it challenging to play against Tsonga?
MARIN CILIC: Absolutely. I mean, to play Tsonga is always very challenging. You know, he also had a similar last year as me, similar 12 months, I would say. He was also out with injury on his arm. He's been playing up and down, I would say.

He had some great results and some that probably not the best for him, but definitely always very, very tricky player. Especially in Grand Slams always plays great.

I'm going to have to definitely prepare. But maybe psychologically will be easier for me to get into this match rather than for him as in last couple of matches. I won two or three in our meetings, the last ones, so I guess that's going to be better preparation for me.

Q. How do you enjoy this tournament as the defending champion? Does it feel different from any other tournament?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I just feel more relaxed, I'd say. Could have been more pressure, and luckily I was able to control it and to find good tennis.

Yeah, just feeling really, really good on the court. I'm feeling that now even this match I'm hitting the ball better, serving much, much better, and that gives me really good confidence for the upcoming matches.

Q. A lot of points you could have lost. Is it easy to block this out?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah. Well, you just don't think about it. I mean, points are gonna come and go away. You can't do anything about it.

The way to win the points is to play well. You can't really put that in front of playing well.

Q. Was there a point last year in your run where everything sort of clicked into place and you knew you were doing something special? You obviously had some hard matches so far here.

Q. How do you recapture that, or have you recaptured that?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, definitely last year playing fourth round here with Simon was tough battle mentally, physically, everything possible. It was extremely hot day, and I was able to go through it also mentally.

And then with playing-wise I was playing really, really well the fifth set. Then from that point on I sort of let myself go. I was not holding back anymore and I was not second-guessing myself in the matches.

I felt that was the real reason why I was able to play that well and consistently throughout semis and the final.

Even now I'm feeling that I'm hitting the ball well and just, you know, mentally I have to be able to accept that and to let myself play.

Q. (Question regarding Tsonga and Grand Slams.)
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, he was finals of Grand Slam already in 2008, so he's been around top 10 since then and playing really, really good. Masters Series events, even this year at the French Open reaching semis.

So it's, I think, definitely one player that has proven several in the last years but hasn't capitalized on Grand Slams. I'm not saying that it's easy, but of course the competition is extremely tough.

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