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May 13, 2018

Marin Cilic

Rome, Italy


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marin, please.

Q. You had to withdraw from Madrid with injury. How are you feeling before this tournament?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I'm feeling good. I had five days after Istanbul to, you know, rest and do the therapies. And I'm feeling good.

Obviously, it also takes time for me to get to the top form. And, you know, every day is great for me to play, just to feel my body.

And overall, feels really good. Just hoping that I can get to the, you know, form of those matches in, you know, next several days, that everything's going to improve.

So, physically, feeling good and relieved that it's behind me.

Q. Last year you were very proud of your consistency throughout the season, all different surfaces. How do you look back at the first five months of your season, and do you feel that you've been achieving that?
MARIN CILIC: I have to say it was quite good, even though last couple months I didn't have as good results as I was expecting and as good as I wanted them to be.

I think, overall with my game, I managed to stay quite close to the good form that I had at the beginning of the season. I had some tough matches in U.S. against John and, also, against Kohlschreiber, as well.

But, you know, some of those matches, you know, one or two points can definitely make a difference.

Just a little bit unlucky, a little bit of wrist injury, Miami, that just didn't give me -- allow me to have maybe enough time to prepare for clay and to have the best preparation that I want to. Plus, the knee.

So it was just a little bit one step forward, half step back.

So it was a bit up and down but, you know, feeling good and still quite confident with my own game. I think I'm on really good path. And so, it's exciting as it was at the beginning of the season.

Q. Do you have a theory why so many tall players are doing so well this year?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah. I don't know, just probably that kind of a year. It's tough to say.

I think, overall, as you know, the height in tennis increased over the years. The guys that are bigger, stronger, they also tend to move better. I think, also, the game, they are more all-around players.

You know, maybe when you look back 15, 20 years ago, maybe the taller guys would have a serve and one more shot that would back it up. But today, you can have, you know, players like del Potro, even like Anderson or even like Isner, that are, you know, as tall as them and means obviously can move still well and hit all different shots on good level.

So that's, I think, a big improvement for the game, as well.

Q. Were you surprised to see Nadal lose in Madrid? And does that give more hope to the top guys that he can be beaten in Paris?
MARIN CILIC: Well, one part. When you look at history that he had, you know, that many -- or just couple sets that even went to, you know, to extension from 5-all that finished 7-5 or 7-6 in these last 12 months, when you look as that obviously it's a surprise.

But, on the other hand, I haven't watched the match but I watched just the highlights and things like that. I felt that Dominic played extremely well. Those conditions suit him for his game. He's got powerful game. And Madrid allows you to play a bit heavier, a bit faster.

So I think Dominic played great match and deserved definitely to win. As you know, he beat him, as well, here in Rome last year. So it's not something as a big surprise that you would say.

Q. Looking to Paris, in terms of the guys hoping to beat Rafa - -
MARIN CILIC: Obviously, Rafa feels over there probably the best of all clay court conditions that there are. The balls are slightly different over there than what we play with (indiscernible) on this clay season.

I think, overall, you know, playing best of five sets against him, also, there on Philippe Chatrier Court, I think the court is really big. And that makes it maybe just vision-wise slightly different than somewhere else.

And I think Rafa's mentality, in general, on Grand Slams is maybe one percent or slightly better than everywhere else. And I think that makes it just slightly more difficult to beat him there.

But, you know, still, we are all great players and we all believe in ourselves. So that's ... You know, you never know, obviously.

Q. It's obviously a World Cup year. I'm not sure how much you follow football, but - -
MARIN CILIC: I tend to follow sometimes, yeah.

Q. If you would pick one favorite for the World Cup and one team that you think can be like a dark horse, who would they be?
MARIN CILIC: Dark horse, Croatia.

Favorite, tough to say.

Germany always plays amazingly well on the World Cups. And they have great team, as well.

So, I can put - - I'll put Argentina there as a favorite to win. And Croatia as a dark horse.

Q. Although you've had great clay results, I'd guess that your best surfaces are hard courts and grass. Is there anything specific about clay that helps your game that you can't do on other surfaces?
MARIN CILIC: Can you - -

Sorry, I didn't get the question.

Q. Is there anything about clay courts, the surface or speed or whatever, that helps your game that doesn't happen on other surfaces?
MARIN CILIC: I think one thing you hit many more balls on the clay courts. Also, in the practices.

I think the practices, just looking at my own situation, is a bit different than on hard courts. I tend to have, you know, little bit longer sessions, little bit longer sets to do.

You know, for instance, if I would do, you know, some sets in drills, on exercise, when I would play on hard courts, I would do them maximum up to, you know, 10, 15 shots. And on clay, I tend to extend that a bit more.

So I think this helps me for my consistency. Also trajectory of the ball. Also just the mind-set that you have to wait sometimes, you have to defend, you know, get back from defense to offense.

And overall, I think just, you know, hitting as many balls, I think you get that confidence of, you know, where the ball is gonna go and how you feel the ball on the racquet.

So I think definitely helps in both ways. For clay courts and also for the hard courts or grass afterwards.

Q. You lost to Malek Jaziri in Istanbul. I think you know him quite a bit off the court.

Q. I'm just wondering, he made the final for the first time there. I'm just wondering what you make of his progress at 34 years old.
MARIN CILIC: I'm great, great friends with Malek. And it was also great to play him. And he had amazing week.

We know each other from, you know, many years ago. And he had a difficult path reaching to, you know, top 100 and, also, you know, finding his own way of success.

So, it was nice to see him playing that well and still improving at this age. So, you know, I hope that he's gonna have, you know, great success until, you know, next few years, as long as he's playing.

Q. Do you think that tennis will continue to get taller?
MARIN CILIC: There aren't that many guys that are taller than two meters. So, I guess most of them would go to basketball.

But, I think, in my own sense, the tennis where it could involve is, you know, guys that are above 190, moving as good as the guys that are tall, around 180, 185. And still quite powerful.

As we've seen from Novak, from Andy. You know, they have been the ones who push that boundaries a bit more.

And I think in the future, you know, even the guys that are stepping inside the court a bit more and playing aggressive tennis but still able to, you know, match you with big serves, big forehands, big backhands, I think that's going to be the new step in tennis.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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