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July 3, 2017

Marin Cilic

Wimbledon, London, England

M. CILIC/P. Kohlschreiber

6-4, 6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was that? Are you satisfied?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I'm definitely very satisfied. One of the, I would say, toughest draws I could get for the first round. I played Philipp many times in the past, and definitely wasn't easy seeing that I'm going to play him in the first round.

But I had good confidence coming to the match, so that was giving me a good feeling on the court straightaway when I came out.

You know, played quite solid throughout all the match. Haven't lost a serve. Even though few times he was having some break points, but overall, played quite solid.

I would just say that the courts, you know, this year are a little bit slower comparing to the last years, so maybe we gonna see more breaks in the tournament.

Q. Why do you think it is that here at Wimbledon those four guys, Federer, Nadal, Murray, Djokovic, have had such a grip since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 they have won every single singles championship, but at some of the others, you and a couple of guys have broken through?
MARIN CILIC: Well, they have been at the top on most of the tournaments. Well, especially here, Roger was playing in that first part and Rafa as well played great. And now, few years back, Novak and Andy. It's definitely tough playing them, especially on Grand Slam level.

But I don't know why they had such a great success here especially. Last few years there were a few guys that were playing also quite well. Milos played well last year. I also had some chances against Roger in quarters. You know, I would say that this year could be a little bit different, but we'll see.

Q. Andy said maybe the surface and maybe that it's slower has helped those guys stay at the top. What thoughts do you have about what role the surface might play and those guys maintaining control here?
MARIN CILIC: It's tough to say. You know, even on a faster surfaces when he was, Roger was playing great, was winning at that time, Rafa was also finding way to get to the titles twice, I believe. And they have just possessed great qualities over last 10 years in keeping their form really high level on most of the big tournaments.

So that's really great to see and very motivation for all of us that are still playing and obviously competing with them.

Q. Goran Ivanisevic said you're bigger favorite to win Wimbledon than even Novak Djokovic. Could you comment on that?
MARIN CILIC: That's really nice to hear, and especially coming from Goran. You know, Novak hasn't played in those first two weeks on grass. He played just this week, actually last week in Eastbourne.

For my own form, I'm also feeling that I'm playing maybe the best ever in this period of the year. Prepared extremely well and I had great consistency coming to Wimbledon. I had best clay court season ever for me, and that's something that I was working on really hard.

You know, also, it's really nice and great to see and hear that the people around are seeing that I'm in great form and that I'm possessing great abilities, that I can make great things here.

Q. What surprises you most about what Roger has been able to do this year specifically and winning Australia and maintaining such a high level at this age?
MARIN CILIC: I would say just still at this age being able to learn and work on his game, that was something extremely great to see. A player like him in age coming to 36 that he can still improve on his game, work on his game, bring some new things. Working with Ivan, I believe he's hitting his backhand the best ever this year. So that's something really nice to see.

And I think opens up also for the rest of us that haven't come to that age, possibility that we can still improve.

Q. Do you think it was possible that he could make such changes?
MARIN CILIC: Absolutely. Absolutely, yeah. He's amazing talent, amazing, I would say, player that has great talent to learn. That's what gave him such success in his career.

Q. What do you think about Mario Ancic joining Novak's team?
MARIN CILIC: Extremely good news. Mario is a great guy. Definitely we were all sad seeing him finish his career so early, but I think extremely positive for Novak.

Mario was, when he used to play, he was a great fighter. And even after his career, he took a different direction and still was taking on challenges really, really great. You know, I think he can definitely help in Novak's game in tennis-wise but also in mental-wise I would say just to maybe bring that spark and maybe that fire a little bit more.

Q. Is it a good message for region, for Balkans, since he's Croatian and not Serbian?
MARIN CILIC: Absolutely. As, you know, on the tour we are good friends, even me with Novak and with Viktor, with Janko, we know the team more than 10, 15 years, and traveling almost every single week together.

I know Mario had great relationship with Novak, as well, in the past. They played many times, as well. I know that they were friends after even Mario finished.

I would say it didn't surprise me much. Was just nice to see that Novak was also thinking about that, thinking about Mario.

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