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September 22, 2017

Marin Cilic

Thomas Enqvist

Prague, Czech Republic


Prague, Czech Republic

22 September, 2017

M. CILIC/F. Tiafoe

7-6, 7-6

Europe - 1

The World - 0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations for the first point for Team Europe. You and Frances were the first ones to play competitive match on this unique black surface. How would you, as a seasoned veteran in the game, describe these conditions?
MARIN CILIC: Thank you. Thank you for the congratulations. I think the court looks really good. It's also playing really well. Maybe just first few days when we were hitting on it it was not easy to see the ball, but, you know, as we got used to it, it's really very comfortable.

I think looking also from TV or from the side it looks very, very good. I think for the fans, something different, something new, and, you know, it can be, you know, a point of the Laver Cup that it's definitely unique.

For me, was definitely great to start and to open with Frances this event, especially that we played very solid match, very good level. I hope also that the crowd enjoyed, and definitely, for me, I'm very happy that I brought the first point for our team.

Q. Obviously you have played many Grand Slam tournaments. Is Laver Cup somehow comparable to Grand Slam tournaments? The atmosphere, the hall, facilities?
MARIN CILIC: I think it's just a little bit different. Obviously in Grand Slams you are there on your own. Over here is more a team. Team is in the first spot as a priority. We are more here, everyone together, practicing and, you know, going day to day, everyone together and exchanging some experiences and discussing what is the best.

I would say that definitely I can relate to Masters in London with this kind of event. Just the organization, the quality of everything, first of all, you know, the best players in the world, and then the facility here, the arena, is definitely amazing, one of the best that I played at. The organization is just amazing for us players.

As we are not too many, I think, you know, everything is very specified for everyone. I think everyone feels really, really good.

Q. Can you talk about the pressures that you felt before and during the match? Is it compared to a typical tournament, or it was not the same for you on the court?
MARIN CILIC: Maybe I can relate a little bit to the Davis Cup, having this kind of competition. Obviously I wanted to do well and to get that first point for our team. You know, I would say there is more pressure, just trying to be obviously -- I tried to be a bit more focused in my game throughout the match to keep it all the time at the highest possible level.

Even, you know, people were questioning if this is going to be exhibition, but for none of us this is exhibition. We are very much into it. We prepared really well.

Obviously it's a different format. It's a little bit quicker than what we are used to, but we are 100% into it. It's created -- you know, the team is behind, everyone is going to bring in some small advices or tips about the players that we are confronting.

So I think it's very enjoyable.

Q. Congrats on the win, first points for Team Europe. You guys are all here honoring the past of tennis, honoring Rod Laver. In your eyes, what's his legacy for tennis? Do you think anybody else in tennis could achieve what he does and what he did in the past?
MARIN CILIC: You know, definitely there is possibility in the future that, you know, we could have, in tennis, players that could achieve something what he did. I think this is amazing, I think, from Roger and the team, from organizing committee, that they organized something like this for Rod as he should be also a little bit, I think, even more celebrated in our game.

What he achieved, especially at those times -- I think the media and, you know, the popularity of tennis might not have been as it is today, but, you know, at his time he was an extremely big professional, probably one of the best that the game has seen. You know, he transformed tennis, and that's, you know, something that we are all taking from and getting back from tennis also because of him.

Q. To Marin and to Thomas. What was it like being advised by Björn? And, Thomas, what was it like being part of this group and being on the sidelines helping out?
MARIN CILIC: Definitely was a big honor for me to sit next to Björn, especially on the court, and to open up this event. You know, Björn has huge knowledge of tennis, and was also a pleasure to spend with him last few days also on the practice court and during our meetings, lunches and dinners, as well.

You know, on the court he's very easy-going, very stable. He definitely gave me several advices in good times and support me, I think, and he has done really, really well. I enjoyed it, enjoyed my time on the court with him.

VICE-CAPTAIN THOMAS ENQVIST: Yeah, it's a big honor for me to, first of all, help my big guy, Björn Borg, to assist and help him and prepare the team and work with this incredible European team, I would say.

I was, you know, honored to be asked to work with them and with Marin, with all the guys on the team. They really have worked hard. I'm impressed how determined, dedicated they have been to this event. They are really into it.

You know, we are here to celebrate, like we have talked about here, Rod Laver and tennis in general and the legacy of one of the greatest champions we have ever had. But they are here, as always, to win, to perform and represent the team in the best possible way. They have been unbelievably determined.

It's just, for me, it's a dream come true to be that close to some of the best champions that ever played the game. It's an honor.

Q. I don't know how much time you had a chance during your match to look at the other players who were watching you, but if you did, what's it like to see Roger Federer standing up, fist pumping, out of the corner of your eye when you usually see him on the other court trying to beat you, and seeing Nadal and the other guys just cheering you on?
MARIN CILIC: In one way it's definitely a lot of fun. In the other way, I think it just gives you a little bit more extra determination and have that extra focus that you deliver on the court. That's, for me, one of the biggest things that we have in tennis, playing Davis Cups or playing in team competitions. That team from the sidelines can give you that extra edge, can bring you that few percent that could make a difference.

For me, especially, watching me play and supporting me means a lot. You know, definitely very thrilled that I'm part of the team and that I hope we are going to be able to win in the end.

Q. Players are often very tired after Davis Cup matches because it's best of five. Here you play just two sets and then champions tiebreak. Can you compare it to Davis Cup of intensity and...
MARIN CILIC: Obviously in terms of physicality, it's not that demanding. You know, I would say mentally obviously you have to focus a lot. I would say it might be even a little bit tougher here. We are playing indoors. The court is playing also medium to faster pace. So you have to be ready from the beginning. You cannot have any lapses in your game.

It's very critical to play every single game, every single set to the best of your potential, as you never know if you drop a set and things go to the super-tiebreak, you can be losing.

So it makes it very exciting. And then I think for the fans it's very thrilling. Plus the matches are not going too, too long.

Q. How do you see this year's Wimbledon? You played your first final but injured there.
MARIN CILIC: Definitely, for me, that was one of the highlights of my career, reaching the final of Wimbledon. I had amazing leadup to get to the final with two very good events before that in Queen's and 's-Hertogenbosch, as well. My form was peaking really nicely.

I was extremely proud of and happy that I kept that consistency level extremely high for several weeks in a row, and, you know, with that, I think that I opened one extra door for me for the rest of my career, finding that balance of playing really well and keeping that throughout every single match.

You know, to get that kind of result, at the end, even though I was not at the best possible way competing in the final, still it gives me huge confidence moving forward.

Q. Playing in Prague, in Europe, did you feel like you have like home-court advantage?
MARIN CILIC: I think so, at least a little bit (smiling). Because it's first match, maybe the fans are not so much into it, you know. Who knows if they were expecting it's going to be a little bit easier weekend for all of us?

But, you know, it's not easy to relate and to cheer for a Croatian when you are a Czech or German or Spanish. I don't know (smiling).

But I think and I hope that we are going to get good support, and especially when the matches are going to get going and we are going to play several matches. And probably when we get to Day 2, I think the crowd is going to get a little bit more into it, and I think that is going to make it obviously more fun for everyone and for the fans in the crowd and for us on the court.

Q. Congratulations. I'd like to know, between players sometimes there is a rivalry and there is not always friendship. Do you think this kind of event will help you and the other players to become more friends since maybe you are in the same sort of team and you have to support each other, talk to each other more than you normally do, have dinner together maybe and things like that? And to Thomas, just a quick question. You are not going to announce who is playing tomorrow before tomorrow morning. What do you think about that? Because we are a little surprised. I mean, we could have said today who was playing and announce for tickets and spectators. What do you think about this idea to not say it the day before?
VICE-CAPTAIN THOMAS ENQVIST: I think it's great, to be honest with you, because I think it keeps the fans and you guys speculating. We actually know who is playing, so tomorrow we know we are going to enjoy Nadal and Federer and Berdych in the singles, but what I think is so great about it is that the other team will not know until tomorrow morning, so they have to go to bed, try to, you know, think about I could play three of those players.

And it's the same for the fans and for everybody. There will be speculation, like, me, I think you should put him, because they have a good record against this.

I think that's what makes this exciting and different. So I think it's a great idea.

MARIN CILIC: For me, I'm considering your question. I think obviously spending time with the guys, we know each other really well on the tour, but, you know, it's rarely that we will have opportunity to share, you know, locker rooms together, lunch, dinner, breakfast, things like that.

Definitely we are gonna have, I believe, a good bond for going forward and something to relate to. Definitely, for me, it is a pleasure to spend time with these great guys, starting with Thomas and all the rest on the team. You can learn a lot. You can see, you know, what are the guys doing, what are their routines, how are they dedicated every single day and in every single way? I think it's very positive.

Also, another thing is that we are talking a lot about the matches, talking about tactics, you know, how to play who and in which kind of way, so it also opens up your mind to different ideas for the game, and I think it's very enjoyable.

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