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July 14, 2017

Marin Cilic

Wimbledon, London, England

M. CILIC/S. Querrey

6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. If you had to pick one thing that you're most proud of in what you've been able to do this fortnight, what would it be - besides making the final?
MARIN CILIC: I would say my mental toughness was on an extremely high level, considering that both of us played amazing tennis in the first set. The level was absolutely unbelievable from both ends. Then just to come short in that tiebreak, I was 4-1 up, and Sam made a few good points. I was a little bit unlucky on a few challenges. Lost that set.

But I managed to regroup and felt that mentally in the critical situations, I was really good, even having a break down in that fourth set. I managed to turn it around. I would say I played throughout the match really a high level.

Q. You've won the US Open, of course. One of the few breakthroughs of anybody during the big four's time. The big four has won 14 straight years here. What are your thoughts on what they've done here and the opportunity you now have?
MARIN CILIC: Well, obviously they set the bar really high on most of the Grand Slams, but this one especially. None of other players has managed to win it.

Definitely it's great for me to be in the final of a Grand Slam again. Felt that, you know, my level of tennis in last several weeks is really on a high level, and that has given me a lot of consistency with my mindset.

You know, now looking ahead, obviously it's going to be a big match for me. But, you know, it's great thing that I have already played one Grand Slam final, and I believe it's going to be easier to prepare.

Q. Knowing that domination of the big four here, what would it mean to you to break through here at Wimbledon?
MARIN CILIC: It would mean absolutely a world to me. You know, I feel that when I won the US Open in '14, it just opened so many possibilities in my mind for the rest of my career. To be able to do it again would definitely mean, I would say, even more 'cause I know how much it meant for me to win that first one.

It would be absolutely a dream come true to win Wimbledon here.

Q. A lot of guys like Goran and Feliciano picked you out as one of the favorites for the tournament. Have you always felt that throughout the tournament? Do you believe you could beat anyone now, whoever you face in the final?
MARIN CILIC: I was aware, very much aware of that. People around talking really nicely and positively about my possibilities to go through the draw. Still I knew that I have that ability, but it was a matter of playing well on the court. These last two matches were really tough ones for me, both Gilles and Sam, they challenged me to play really on a high level. I was ready for that.

It's just another step for me, I believe, in my own tennis that I'm able to produce great matches at this time of the tournament. So definitely ready for the final, too.

Q. If it's no secret, what was the best piece of advice you received going into this Wimbledon?
MARIN CILIC: It's not just one detail. It is the work and process that goes for weeks. For me, I believe more or less this process has started somewhere at the beginning of clay court season. I made just a little bit of a change with my own team, in the training routine, preparations for the matches. I believe with that consistency in the training program and in the matches, it helped me to be a little bit more mentally stronger.

I was feeling that I could depend a lot on my own game. When I had to produce good tennis, I was producing it. That was giving me obviously big confidence.

Just to pick out one, it's not easy.

Q. I don't know how much being on Centre Court with the Royal Box there you ever look up to see who is there. You follow Nico Rosberg on Twitter. He was there today. Any other famous faces you spotted today or how much do you have to block that out?
MARIN CILIC: I haven't seen anyone. I wasn't looking much in that Royal Box. For me, I was very much focused on playing, just to stay with my mind onto the game. Just I haven't seen anyone.

But definitely I always know that a lot of famous people are coming to watch. Obviously it's one of the biggest tournaments in the world, beautiful stage. We can expect that.

Q. Jonas said he was really impressed of how quickly you have learned from your losses, how you can take it well and move on, like the defeat in the Queen's final. Do you think that's why you're back in a Grand Slam final, because you've been humble enough to acknowledge what was missing?
MARIN CILIC: I would say so. I would agree. Obviously it's tough when you're losing, but the losses are giving you maybe a better picture, a clearer picture comparing when you are winning. When you are winning, everything is great. You don't look too much on the bad stuff.

You know, over the course of my career, especially last few years, I felt that I got matured a little bit more in dealing with losses, especially on a big stage, big tournaments. I feel just taking small details out of those matches have helped me to become better. Obviously to use that in situations when I come to see them again.

Q. It's looking more like Roger Federer possibility. Can you talk about the challenges of playing him in a final, just who he is.
MARIN CILIC: If it's going to be Roger, over here in Wimbledon, I believe this is his home court, place where he feels the best and knows that he can play the best game.

Obviously I'm going to look back, as well, 12 months ago I was one point away from winning a match over here against him. Definitely I believe that if I'm going to be playing him, in my own abilities to get through and to win it.

But I still know that it's a big mountain to climb. Roger is playing maybe one of his best tennis of his career at the moment, having a great season. So I know it's going to be a huge challenge.

But I believe I'm ready.

Q. I would assume that of all the Wimbledon finals you've watched from afar, 2001 with Goran was the most memorable. Can you let us know where you were, what you were thinking on that day.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, you know, it's a famous question in Croatia. Everyone knows where they were when Goran played.

I was in a tennis camp, tennis summer camp, close to my hometown. We watched, like a big group of children, we watched Goran. It was a big celebration.

At that time I was still a kid, not even 13 years old. I was just enjoying to play tennis.

Q. Have you ever spoken to Goran about that day?
MARIN CILIC: Not really. I've seen all the celebrations from him many times on TV and on YouTube. I knew most of the stuff.

Q. You broke a record today. The most number of appearances at Wimbledon before reaching a final. Did you ever fear it would never happen, this moment?
MARIN CILIC: I actually didn't think about it. Just before winning the US Open, for me, I felt that I was still playing really well, but I was questioning myself if that Grand Slam trophy is ever going to come. Then it arrived at I would say a great moment for me.

For here at Wimbledon, I never thought about that, if I'm ever going to make it. It was more just playing well. I believe in these last three, four years, even when I started to work with Goran, my game on grass, and especially here in Wimbledon, has changed and shifted a little bit. It's helped me to play better on all other surfaces. I believe that I was progressing really nicely as a player in these last three, four years.

Q. Even though it was on a different surface, does your win over Federer in the 2014 US Open semifinal give you more belief you can beat him again?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I think so. I mean, just also talked about last year's match. I would say that I'm now in a little bit of a better form, maybe just slightly mentally stronger, maybe learned a few more lessons, valuable lessons.

But still it's a final. It's never easy to deal with it. You never know how your emotions are going to be when you enter that Centre Court.

I'm believing that I have the ability and that I have good game and I played really well during the tournament. That is obviously very important in giving me a lot of confidence to prepare for this final.

Q. Would you call it the toughest challenge of your career?
MARIN CILIC: Not necessarily. I have won a Grand Slam already. It's a big challenge, obviously. I'm not sure if I would have called it the biggest one. It's not easy.

Q. Back to the match again last year, missing those match points, do you think that's just something that happened, or do you look at it now that you have to go into this match differently, approach it differently? Have you learnt anything in particular from that match?
MARIN CILIC: You know, in that match overall I played really well, I have to say. Even the last year I was with Goran, we spoke about it, played great tennis. It was just, you know, decision-making at those crucial points, match points, breakpoints even. I had maybe the middle of the fourth set 40-Love. In those critical moments, my mindset, picking the shots maybe wasn't the best. I learned from that.

But overall, with the game, I felt throughout the match I played really well.

Q. A moment ago you spoke about this being like Roger Federer's home court. When you think about his accomplishments at Wimbledon, the images that you have in your head of what he's done here, what are the things that come to mind first?
MARIN CILIC: I'm not sure what to answer. I would say looking at his game, his game just fits really nicely, I would say almost perfectly for grass, his style of play. I feel that, especially on the Centre Court, on a grass court, he's really fluid with his shots, playing aggressive tennis. He's got that natural ability with his movement that he can play fast, he can accelerate and decelerate, as well.

I believe grass is just suited for him nicely and perfectly for his kind of game.

Q. In terms of his records here, what stands out most for you?
MARIN CILIC: To be able to win that many titles, especially at the time, with a lot of great players, I would say beginning from 2003, 2004, maybe the group of players maybe wasn't as ready to be in Grand Slams as maybe from 2006, 2007 when Novak, Andy, and Rafa from 2005.

But still in that era, in that time, he was playing unbelievable, and also has a great record in the finals, as well.

Q. One of the targets you've been clear about this year is cracking that top five. You do that if you win on Sunday. Does that add any extra pressure or motivation, or is it just another match?
MARIN CILIC: Not really. For me obviously that's a big process. We even spoke about it in Queen's. For me, you know, I didn't start really well this year. But still I kept believing, also with my own team, that the goal for me, it is for the end of the year to reach top five. I am really on a good way for it.

I'm continuing with that. Even if it doesn't happen now, it's still a long way to go.

Q. Talking to Jonas, he said you're a very nice guy off the court, and on the court you're trying to be meaner or more intimidating. How would you describe that process for you? Is it easier for you now to try to do that? How do you see yourself on the court? Are you mean enough?
MARIN CILIC: I'm still a nice guy on the court, too, I believe. You should ask players around.

For me, obviously people are asking always, Do you need to be more arrogant? Do you need to be more angry on the court, to be more selfish or stuff like that, to be able to win more constantly?

For me, I wouldn't agree. There is not one formula for that. I feel obviously that emotions are very important on the court, especially in my own case where I am from a quiet nature. I try to, with Jonas, with my team, lift that up, lift that spirit up. I believe that's helping me to play a little bit freer.

Q. Who is here with you? Do you expect more people to come for the final? Where is your US Open trophy?
MARIN CILIC: Three of my brothers arrived here. My girlfriend, too. I mean, close, close people obviously. I believe there's going to be more of my closest ones coming in. Obviously, it's not too far from Croatia, as well. That's really nice.

And for the trophy, I keep it at home just to remind myself of nice memories.

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