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November 16, 2018

Marin Cilic

London, England, United Kingdom


7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talking about the match, in the first set you had even set points, the break before. Djokovic is there, or you are thinking in Davis Cup? How do you express yourself?
MARIN CILIC: No, was not thinking Davis Cup (smiling).

I felt the tennis was quite quality first set. Novak was serving really good. I was not finding, on one part, the rhythm on my returns, the other part Novak was very accurate with his serve. He was placing the serve really good today.

You know, the tiebreak, there were no mini breaks. I had a set point. There was some rally. I had definitely small opening. But Novak played well, I have to say. He was better throughout the first set. He had more chances on my own serve, and I didn't win many points on his serve, so that was tough to, you know, create that pressure, especially in the tiebreak when it comes to critical points.

Second set, I mean, I still felt I played well. I just dropped in part of, you know, little bit with my serve. Novak connected few good points, you know, got the break. He was much looser after that, you know, 3-2, 4-2, played well those last two games.

Q. Unrelated to today's match, it was the Next Gen last week. How much of a threat do you think the up-and-coming players are to guys like you in the top 10?
MARIN CILIC: There are lot of youngsters that are coming up, especially the ones that are already established themselves in last couple of years, age 21, 22, even youngsters like De Minaur, Tsitsipas are playing great. I think they're coming up nicely, improving a lot. I think, you know, pushing the boundaries, as well.

It's also on them to push those limits, to step it up, also for us guys in the top 10, you know, to keep up the pace.

Q. Are you going to Lille tomorrow? Are you confident that you have enough time to get ready to play on clay?
MARIN CILIC: I will on Sunday probably. I'll take a day off and then go on Sunday.

Yeah, there is enough time anyway, five days to train, so should be good.

Q. Can you reflect on this tournament. You've been here before, got your first live win here. Do you feel you're consistently putting yourself in the position to be a contender at the season-end final?
MARIN CILIC: It's great to be here third year in a row, fourth year overall. I played well during the season. I had some ups and downs. I had a lot of great matches, great wins as well.

Over here, it's also not easy to play, just conditions a little bit vary from the air-conditioning, as well. I was adjusting to that first couple years. I feel that I'm playing well in these last couple years. I was just also putting myself lot of chances, and didn't make some of them, which I should have.

Also this year, first match with Zverev was quite critical, having some of the, you know, chances there, even to win a set, which would be obviously different coming into today's last match, to still have a chance.

But, you know, I'm still pleased with the way I played. I felt I was competitive in all the matches, had good chances against all of them, feeling good.

Q. 2005, that was a big moment in Croatian tennis when you won the Davis Cup. Obviously you weren't playing then. Could you just explain what that meant and how special would it be if Croatia could win the last Davis Cup in the present format?
MARIN CILIC: It was incredible, one of the greatest sporting moments in our country's history. Also that season Ljubicic played incredible tennis, winning 11 matches out of 12, unfortunately losing the last one to Hrbaty in five sets, where he had also a stiff neck, had trouble also to play. But it was incredible generation, as well, with Mario supporting him in doubles, winning that last point. It was great also for me being a youngster at that age, getting little bit extra help.

For this new generation where I'm at, we are having great team, enjoying the team atmosphere. We're having another opportunity now. Two years ago we were close. I feel if we continue to play well, we can have a good chance.

But still, it's going to be a fight, a big battle against France.

Q. How good was it to have Borna here this week practicing? Do you think that would have helped him set him up for the final?
MARIN CILIC: I hope so. You know, just to be here and to feel the atmosphere, continue to do the training, just preparations a bit. And, you know, he had amazing season, the best so far in his career, finishing ranked 12th, I believe.

So, you know, it's going to be great to play next weekend. We going to be really motivated.

Q. You obviously played two of the semifinalists here in Djokovic and Zverev. Djokovic most have considered the heavy favorite for this tournament since he arrived pretty much. Do you agree with that assessment now you've played him? If so, who do you expect him to see in the final?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, you have to say he's playing the best at the moment. He's in the best shape, winning so many matches, also against top-10 guys consistently, constantly playing great tennis.

So definitely favorite, number one, to win here. All the matches here, as well, he played high quality. Also today, even though for him this match didn't matter.

The other match, Zverev-Federer, it's going to be good match. Zverev played good today. He served great. Roger struggled a little bit in that first match. Played great last two matches.

So, you know, it's going to be a tough battle, for sure. Obviously little bit of an edge on Federer's side because he won few last matches. But it's going to be entertaining.

Q. Going back to Davis Cup. What are you expecting from France? More importantly, your traveling Croatian fans, they're some of the best in Davis Cup I've seen.
MARIN CILIC: We are expecting great atmosphere obviously in Lille. It's going to be great. French team always plays great at home. They're known for having great results in France. So it's going to be fun. It's going to be great to play, great excitement for both teams.

We had a great season as a team. The French team also, Herbert-Mahut are playing great. They're in the semis. They're going to be their sort of rock of the team in doubles.

For us, we have to play well, step it up, try to obviously give our best to win.

Q. On your traveling support?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, we hope we going to have good support. It's not easy also for Croatian fans. It's little bit further away from Croatia. Hopefully we going to have a great support to lift us to the victory.

Q. What positives do you think you can take from your performances here into next week in Lille? How do you think that can inspire your teammates?
MARIN CILIC: I feel, you know, just playing against top guys just maybe lifts your level a bit, focus-wise. Playing-wise, you have to play every single point on a high level. I feel that might help me.

In Davis Cup points matches are very critical. I believe that can help me, as well, with my focus and preparation for that. Little bit different, it's going to be on clay.

But I feel with three matches here, I'm going to be in a good match form, and just hoping that I can rest a bit, refresh, and get some training.

Q. Looking ahead to the end of the season, are you making any adjustments to your team in the off-season?
MARIN CILIC: The plans for the rest of the season is to rest and to train. I will see with the other things. But so far, so good.

Q. What about your coaching team? Will it remain the same or will you make any adjustments?
MARIN CILIC: No, everything stays the same.

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