Rolex Shanghai Masters
Sunday, 7 October 2018
Q. This tournament has only had three winners in the last eight years. What do you think makes this tournament so difficult to win?
MARIN CILIC: Like in general, in last quite a few years, most of the top guys were winning from Novak, Andy, Rafa, and Roger in this probably tournament that they liked and played well over here.
I think in one part, Novak has been playing really well, in Beijing and coming over here, and then lost couple years Roger played as well quite good because the court is quite quick.
I don’t know. Tough to explain. Generally, I felt, for me, I felt that the court’s playing quick. Also, you have to be on top of your game to play well. I felt that this kind of a court suit them well probably against other guys.
You know, looking at it, it’s a bit different than all the other ones. Could be compared a little bit of in Bercy. Couple years in Bercy, it was really quick, but I would say here the court is probably the quickest in the year. You know, just could be coincidence.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about balancing the workload at this time of the year? You come towards the end with an eye on London. Do you think more about where you want to play, how you want to train more now than, you know, at any other time of the year?
MARIN CILIC: I had thought about it. Last year when I came to London, I felt just a little bit drained. Even though I played well this end of the year, I had a lot of matches, and it just took a little bit extra energy out of me. Mentally, as well, difficult just to sustain that over and over again.
This year I’m feeling a little bit more experienced, but still you have to play well in each tournament. You know, focus is still on this tournament here and to play well here. I think it’s a danger if you try to look too far ahead and, you know, prepare for in three, four weeks. I think you just have to focus day by day, obviously listen to your body as much as you can with your team to work and to balance the training.
For me, I like to work hard and I’m working a lot during the trainings on many different aspects of the game that I’m working also during the year, so not much is changing. Maybe just in the total workload of the volume, maybe lowering it a bit and listening to the body if I’m a little bit more tired.
Probably towards the end of this year, with last few weeks of the year, maybe I’m going to shorten the practices just to be a little bit more intensive but not going too far to drain the body too much.
Q. If you could talk a little bit about ball boys and the ball girls. I don’t know if you saw the Fernando Verdasco video from a couple of weeks ago when he yelled at the ball kid. What kind of, you know, attitude should the players have towards the ball kids? And then also, I understand the ATP at the NextGen is going to try putting hooks at the courts and players will get their own towels and stuff. Maybe like how you feel you’re supposed to treat a ball kid and what they’re supposed to do for you.
MARIN CILIC: Generally, in my own perspective, you know, when you come on the court, first you have to respect the opponent and everyone involved. Everyone is trying to do their job the best they can.
Looking at the ball boys, it’s also, in a way, unique opportunity for them to watch us play live but also to be involved. You know, they are doing the best they can in some situations. Obviously some are a little bit better than other times, but, you know, they are helping you out with all the things and making things easier for you. So, you know, you have to respect them. That’s bottom line. You know, obviously we all can get nervous and frustrated, but we have to just be able to deal with that on your own.
Just with that new addition for the NextGen, I’m not sure. We’ll see how it goes. But recently, also, we had the shot clock that we played at US Open Series, and obviously it helps when the ball boys are active and when they are attentive, you know, saves quite a few seconds between the points. You know, that’s what we need, and that’s what the game is looking for.
You know, I feel that, for example, in conditions where it’s quite humid like it was, for example, here last year, you need to have ball boys doing that.
Q. You have quite a lot of goals for this end of season, but you have the experience of it. Still, playing Davis Cup final on clay, is there any way you can grab some few days on clay before the training block right before the competition? Or are you just not thinking about it and you will go on clay after London?
MARIN CILIC: I thought about it. I thought about it, but not much time. Even after here, I have a week off before Basel and Paris and then London (smiling), so there won’t be much time.
For me, it’s not a problem to adjust to clay. We also played now Davis Cup at home on clay. I just feel the sliding can be a little bit more demanding on the body and especially adductors. And I always when I come on the Davis Cups, I take first couple of days just to have a little bit more practice in that just for sliding so I don’t pull my hamstring or my adductor.
That’s the only part that I need time with. But just playing-wise, I feel the court is going to be different but still indoors and should be okay (smiling). I’m just going to continue playing hard court.
Q. Were you a ball boy when you were growing up? If you have any special memory from that or anything that you liked or didn’t like?
MARIN CILIC: I was once a ball boy for the match, for the exhibition match of Goran and Muster. It was 1996, I think. I enjoyed that. I really liked it.
For especially kids playing tennis, practicing tennis, I believe they enjoy to be a part of it. So it’s a unique experience. They get to see players live, and it stays for them as something nice and they can share that with friends, especially in the group if they have quite a few friends.
You know, it was same like for me. I didn’t have any other opportunities because we didn’t have too many tournaments around my home, but it was a nice experience. I still remember it.
Q. Do you know how old you were at that time?
MARIN CILIC: I think I was good because I played tennis…
Q. How old you were?
MARIN CILIC: Eight or nine.
Q. Do you go into the Davis Cup final feeling like, oh, Croatia is going to be in the last Davis Cup final with all the changes coming? Or do you feel like it’s going to be easy for players to think of the new way as Davis Cup too?
MARIN CILIC: In one way, yes. This new format coming in, probably it’s going to be different and the atmosphere might be completely different at next year’s event.
So it’s going to be, in a way, also special to be a part of this one, and then playing in France with such a big capacity of the stadium, I believe little less than 27,000. So it’s going to be very special. And also, again, to represent my country, I’m going to enjoy that.