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June 18, 2016

Marin Cilic

London, England

A. MURRAY/M. Cilic

6-3, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Apart from the result today, which I guess you're disappointed with, how would you rate your performance? How do you think you played?
MARIN CILIC: I think I played a pretty good match. I would just say that maybe in the first set I could have played a bit better. I felt in the first set like my first serve was not as lethal as in the second and the third.

I felt that I was coming -- I was getting a little bit more out of my first serve in the second and third set, which helped me a little bit more to set up my game after that.

You know, with Andy, he puts obviously a lot of returns back. In defensive skills, he's really, really good. Even the third set, where I lost my serve, I didn't play a bad game. He just played two, three points really amazing. You know, he puts you in difficult situations and gets the balls which other players don't.

You know, I would say that in the third set he served really, really good. I didn't have basically any chances to break him. You know, I would say still pretty satisfied with the tennis that I'm playing, the way I'm hitting the ball.

Today I think he was definitely a little bit in those certain moments a bit better and, you know, a few points here and there can always gonna decide these matches.

Q. Where would you put your level now compared to, say, 2014 at the US Open?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, everybody is asking me that (smiling). Well, hopefully it's gonna be at the top for Wimbledon.

We'll see. I'm playing well. That's most important. I feel good on the court. There is always a few things that I can work on but nothing, you know, too bad from today. I don't think that I, in any area of the game, that I didn't perform well. Obviously just, you know, in some patterns I could have played a bit better, wait for my chance and be a little bit either patient or a little bit more aggressive on some situations.

But otherwise, I think it was a good match.

Q. Are you feeling 100% physically now? It's all in the past, all the injuries?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I am, which is a relief. I had a little bit difficulties in these last couple months with my knee, so that's really good.

It was, you know, couple weeks ago was still a little bit in back of my head, you know, if it's gonna hurt or not gonna hurt when I wake up in the morning or before the match or during the match. But this week was very good and last week, as well. That's good news.

Q. Do you have to work on it every day? You have physio or exercises?
MARIN CILIC: Nothing irregular. Nothing too, too much. Just regular stuff. You know, nothing really major. I think just to keep prevention for that.

I was obviously in my career a little bit unlucky, and that's my weakest area of the body with the knees is where I have had the most pain. So I'm trying to always work on that.

Q. Lately we have been hearing big names that have been associated to the big players like McEnroe coming. Can you tell us a little bit how does your relationship with Goran Ivanisevic help? Are you happy he's here today and you can talk to him? How does he help you?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I mean, I guess first and most important thing in the relation with between coach and player, doesn't matter if it's ex-player or a coach that didn't play, there has to be a good relationship and good understanding of what, you know, a player needs to do and what the coach is demanding on the court from the player.

For me and Goran, I think it's working well. Obviously these last couple of years have shown that I improved my game. And definitely it was great to have him here today, and, you know, just in preparation for Wimbledon he was able to see definitely a bit more than me from inside the court, what are we gonna work on, what are the areas I have to improve.

And, you know, this next week I'm going to use to practice with the top guys and just, you know, try to use -- try to practice those situations and improve on them.

Q. Tricky question: Would you have won the US Open without him?
MARIN CILIC: You know, in looking to that situation, probably not. Well, in that time. I would say that just the work we did, the progress we did definitely helped me a lot for my game, and, you know, I improved a lot in that first nine months that we were working together.

You know, he helped me with my serve and with my game, so definitely that was a major, major part. It's tough to say would I win or not, but definitely he had a lot of influence in that. But of course I had to, you know, put that into play.

Q. And a few words about the upcoming generation. I don't know if you saw but Zverev won against Federer.
MARIN CILIC: I saw he was a break up.

Q. And Thiem has been unbelievable. Do you look at them? Do you watch them?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I do. I do, absolutely. Zverev is improving a lot in these last 12, 18 months. Definitely he's a player that has big shots, which is definitely important for the game that you can hurt the players.

I would say that the Croatian teenager Borna is definitely one of the rising stars and going to be in the top. But comparing him with the other youngsters that are making the most damages as Thiem, as Kyrgios, as Zverev, he's got a bit more difficult path in front of him as he doesn't have as big of shots as them.

So he is going to need to work much more in improving that and in improving, you know, trying to use, you know, his game as best as possible.

Q. Talking about grass, I think you said it's your favorite surface or it suits your game. Why is that? Do you actually like grass court tennis?
MARIN CILIC: I do. I do. Definitely. I like it a lot. It's really good to see a little bit of a changeup, you know, in surfaces. We are so used to playing all the time on hard courts, and I really enjoy to play even on clay and to practice on clay. You know, just the patterns of game are a bit different.

You know, you have to find other ways to play, and, you know, it's not just about, you know, hitting over and over, you know, the same thing and the same patterns. You have to just be able to think and to adapt to different situations.

And for grass, I enjoy it. I definitely enjoy it. It's a short period of the year, and you really need to -- you need to peak your form at the right time, that you are playing well, hitting the ball well. I would say that it's great that we have first the clay court season and then the grass courts, as you are on the clay courts hitting so many balls and practicing a little bit more. The game is a little bit more physical that it helps you play better on grass. You find better rhythm and things like that.

So, you know, I think for the game and for tennis, it's great to have, you know, different surfaces and especially grass.

Q. How much do you change your game for grass?
MARIN CILIC: Not too much. I mean, well, obviously you have to adapt in different situations concerning the movement. But, you know, grass today is not as fast as, you know, in the past. So you can't really serve and volley most of the time. You have to stay back and play the points from the back. So you just have to adapt.

Obviously you have to be a bit more closer to the baseline and try to control the points. If you are in the position to control the points and to, you know, have a shot where you can play offensively, you have to use that.

Q. The young players I think say they find it difficult to play on grass. Perhaps it's because you don't get to play as much on grass as a kid. Did you find it harder when you were younger?

Q. Okay.
MARIN CILIC: No. Just a matter of adapting. Nobody is practicing on grass. Nobody is playing there. Nobody is running.

So you have to really adapt. And, you know, over the years obviously you get better at and you use your tennis a bit better, you know, with the place.

Q. When you fall over, does it hurt?
MARIN CILIC: When you hurt badly it does. When you don't, it doesn't.

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