Shanghai Rolex Masters
Shanghai Rolex Masters
Saturday, 14 October 2017
R. NADAL/M. Cilic
Q. Must be tough to lose that one, because you had your chances. You were so close. How did you see that match?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I mean, overall extremely tough match mentally. Started the first match, first three games were 25 minutes. A lot of points, a lot of rallies, up and down mentally. It was extremely tough battle.
And then after that I settled in a little bit more. I think Rafa was returning unbelievable today. Almost every single ball that was on his racquet he was putting back on the court and making me play.
Also, of defense, he was creating a lot of good balls, good depth, and then it was obviously tough for me to finish off the points.
But overall I’m extremely pleased with the way I was playing, being mentally in the match with my mindset aggressively, playing really, really good, and I created my chances, especially that first set. I had three set points. Unfortunately didn’t make them.
And then in that second set obviously was a little bit more up and down, one way, in one part, due to obviously we had a long first set. Just mentally it’s extremely difficult to keep your focus every single point, to be at the top as, you know, you have the guy on the other side who is returning great, running good, hitting a lot of great shots off the ground. So was tough for me to find some openings.
And then when I got that break back, I felt that, you know, it was momentum on my side. I felt that I had more freedom. Was just a little bit unfortunate to lose that serve on 4-All where I had that just — maybe that was my, if I would pick one game in the match, that would be the one that I would really want to win. Obviously the first set. But that one just I think created a little bit more opportunities for him, and then was catching up a little bit later.
Q. What’s the toughest part of playing Rafa?
MARIN CILIC: I think he’s, with his mindset, he’s playing every single point full, as we all do, but with him it’s — I think he just has that maybe slight edge in the matches where he’s pushing you to hit another shot, another shot, you know, you’re hitting.
Especially me today I was hitting unbelievable shots off the ground, and against other guys that would be the winners, or just with serving, serving well, that would be either ace or winner, and he makes you play another shot, another shot.
So in some areas, you are also not expecting as many balls back, and also in the other areas, if you don’t play a good shot, next one he’s gonna punish you.
That’s a tough mental battle. Obviously he improved his serve, serving really well, and that’s always putting you in a tough position.
Q. When you look at this match on the forehand side — because you had one service game, it went completely away, and then the great returning game, you’re down match point and you play only winners, how can it click and unclick so quickly in the same set?
MARIN CILIC: For me, obviously forehand is a big weapon and a shot that I’m, you know, when I’m hitting it good, the ball is coming off the racquet big.
But, you know, as you say, there are some unforced errors that are happening, and, you know, that’s where I feel that I can improve still and to keep my game even on a higher level.
You know, some of those mistakes are coming, you know, just maybe not moving enough with my feet and just maybe getting caught in some areas, but what for me went well today was my mindset. Even though I was missing some, I was still believing in my shots, going after them, and that’s the way I need to play.
Q. With the career high world No. 4 this week, how do you judge your performance here this week? Do you think it’s the best season for you or one of the best seasons?
MARIN CILIC: The week was extremely positive for me, looking on everything. Another semifinals of a Masters Series event, something that is giving me good confidence, making me happy, and also my tennis level was really, really good throughout the week.
I had also tough matches and went through all of them in straight sets. And also today against Rafa I created some chances. I didn’t convert them, but, you know, I played great tennis, and that’s something which is giving me good, positive confidence for the rest of the season.
As you say, yeah, I’m No. 4 for Monday, and definitely something what I was looking for to reach as my goal. And, you know, for me, this process is still going and I hope that I can build up on this game.
Q. So what’s the most important match in your life, you think?
MARIN CILIC: Every single one (smiling).
Yeah, it’s tough to say. Sometimes it’s very weird. During the season you can have matches that you think they are not so important, but in the end, they become very important if you are very focused and keeping your game and trying to play your game every single match on a high level.
That’s, I think, extremely important. Some of those small wins, if you would call it like that, first-round wins or just on tournaments where you are looking for confidence can be decisive.
Maybe looking at Rafa, where he was last week in Beijing first round down two match points and now on a big streak of 10 wins, 9 wins, so it’s something amazing. For me, I’m looking like that into the matches.