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May 28, 2022

Marin Cilic

Paris, France

Press Conference

M. CILIC/G. Simon

6-0, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Marin, congrats on the win, very solid performance out there today. It was very special atmosphere. Can you talk us through the match, please?

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, very special day. In the morning I was actually quite anxious about today as I thought it might be Gilles last match, because I read in some, I guess wrongly, in some newspapers this several days ago that he's going to say good-bye here at the French Open.

But then I asked him in the morning is he saying good-bye here and he mentioned that he's going to keep playing until end of the year. So I was like, Whew, okay, okay, I don't want to be last guy putting you into retirement.

But, yeah, I was expecting, obviously, you know, crowd behind him, as it should be, playing at home and playing so many years on an incredible level.

And always with Gilles it's, I have to say, annoying, but exciting and entertaining matches, because he's a guy that keeps coming and coming and coming back. That was today one of the difficult things of being ahead from the beginning so much, 6-0, 4-0 and then, you know, I played like a little bit poor game, 4-1, he's, suddenly he's back into the game and it was a tricky situation, 5-3, 15-30.

And managed to win that one and that was basically the big turnaround for the whole match. Yeah, overall played fantastic, I have to say.

Q. Gilles Simon just said some really nice words about you and he admirers you a lot and he said, I think you should have won the sportsmanship medal for many years. I just would like to know, what is your approach to the game? I want to mention you never complaining and you're always modest guy on the court. What is your approach to the game and do you sometimes wonder that the younger generation, they smash rackets, they insult umpires, they don't have control of their emotions all the time and maybe those two questions, please.

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I mean, me and Gilles know each other from, we played first time in 2007 in Wimbledon. I got a wildcard in Wimbledon, we played there five sets, and from then on we played, we've been on the tour so many years, practiced so many times, and had incredible battles. Yeah, with him it's always special matches, if you call it.

But, yeah, for me, no, I've been always, since I came on the tour I was always very dedicated, hard worker and very focused on my improvements. And on the court I know that everybody's doing the best they can from the umpires. So you see, sometimes can be some situations where things are not fair, that's where I get the most agitated, you know, if the umpire is not respecting both guys the same way.

So those for me are always things that in all sports I get agitated and so I feel that rules should be the same for everybody. And, yeah, I respect everybody and I am, you know, there on the court focused, modest and doing my own thing.

And, yeah, just to say about newer generation, everybody's individual, everybody is doing their own thing. But for me I know when I'm calm and I'm focused, when I'm combined with excitement, when I'm like that, I'm feeling that I'm playing the best.

If I get frustrated, those are bad emotions that are not going to be helping me for playing better. So I'm not using those ones too often.

Q. That match before you ended sort of suddenly and probably a lot quicker than you thought it was going to. Did that mess up at all your sort of pre-match routine and what is your pre-match routine? Are there things you do every day to get ready and did you, do you have to hurry it up once a thing like that happens?

MARIN CILIC: I was actually, you know, when Iga was playing, I was watching her match and then a little bit Rublev's match with Garin, and then that match was like incredible, especially the fourth set and then the tiebreak.

And I was like, okay, I have to go, you know, just calm myself a little bit and not to get excited with this match, because I'm playing in hour and a half.

But then the match was, kept going, kept going, I was glued to the TV. And so then I went in the locker room and we had a quiet room and then there was like few sofas where we can lay down. And I was feeling, you know, I might just close my eyes a few minutes.

Then I see the score is like 4-Love already and I'm thinking, well I'm going to play in like 20 minutes, I have to get ready.

So, yeah, just spoke with my coach and basically when it was 6-Love, 2-Love I was already in the gym starting to warm up. Then they gave us like 15, 20 minutes, which was just enough for to go on the court. But, yeah, I could have slept for 15 minutes, would be fantastic.

Q. Do you usually take a little nap before a match?

MARIN CILIC: Sometimes, when I feel like it, but not always, to recharge.

Q. It was Gilles' last match here. In what stage of career are you at right now?

MARIN CILIC: At the start (laughing).

Q. But honestly.

MARIN CILIC: Honestly, feeling good. I was even talking with my doctor end of last year and for the, like full recheck of my body, and he said, your body's like 25, you know, and don't tell my wife I'm saying this, that I might be playing another 10 years.

So, yeah, I'm feeling good on the court, everything's working well. As I mentioned, I'm quite dedicated with my training, with my routines. I take that quite seriously. Rarely go in tournaments that I'm not a hundred percent ready. So those are things that keep me in shape.

You know, how long? We'll see. But definitely three, four years, if I can be competitive like this.

Q. You are a Masters champion, you've won a big title. Do you still feel that something like this could be inside you still?

MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I do. I do, absolutely. Honestly, really I do. Because in these last, let's say, seven, eight months, I've been swimming around good form, played good. And then, you know, here and there some matches were not as great.

But then I come back to the training, training blocks, everything is fantastic, I'm feeling great. And then some matches that I was not able to win very close ones, now even the start of the clay season, but then I feel that the level is there.

I come maybe next day and play some sets with some guys that are top and, you know, I'm playing fantastic. So I'm feeling, okay, that's motivating me to pushing me forward.

Then I come here, actually I was in Rome prior to this and played really well over there. Lost tight one against Garin.

And then just here couple things clicked in and then I'm playing fantastic. So these are the feelings that I had also during my career, that I was always like quite close to find solution to the puzzle and then, you know, it starts going well and so I'm feeling that I'm playing really well. If I can go further, I feel like that, but also backwards, absolutely.

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