TENNIS US OPEN – 6th of September 2014. M. Cilic d. R. Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. An interview with Marin Cilic
Q. It must feel pretty special to play the kind of match you dream about playing in a tournament you dream about playing it in and doing it, eh?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, absolutely. Just for the performance today from, I mean, first point to the last I was absolutely playing the best tennis of my life. Considering the huge occasion I was playing in, I mean, for the second time in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it just can’t be more special. Considering also that, you know, even I was a set up and break up, you know, the crowd was rooting for Roger to come back. You know, it wasn’t easy to deal with that, but I felt that my serve helped me a lot today, you know, to get some free points to breathe a little bit easier. It was, I mean, working perfectly.
Q. What was the key to the match today?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I felt that very similar to the Berdych match I adjusted pretty well to the wind and to the conditions we were playing in. It was a different game from different ends. With one end it was wind in the back, so it was a bit easier to play from that side. Most of my breaks I made from that end. You know, as soon as I felt in the beginning of the match that I’m serving well, that I’m pretty relaxed, that I could have a chance. It was important for me to keep my focus, even though I was two sets to love up. I knew that Roger, you know, can turn it around and the momentum can shift. So I was, you know, very focused. I think mental part of the game from my own side was on a good spot.
Q. What do you take out of the match in Canada that you brought in today? What did Goran tell you about this match to get ready?
MARIN CILIC: Well, over there in Canada, confidence-wise and belief-wise showed me that, you know, if I play well I can have a chance. Over there Roger was causing me much more trouble on his serve and I wasn’t getting as many returns in the court like today. I felt today the return was extremely good, especially on the second serve and that, you know, opened up many more opportunities for me. I felt that, I mean, maybe fraction better I served today than in Toronto, but over there I think I played also pretty consistent match. I think by returning bit better opened a few more chances for me.
Q. What did Goran say going into it?
MARIN CILIC: Well, we just spoke a little bit. Nothing too specific.
Q. Did he relax you?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, definitely. I knew that I had to be aggressive. I can’t just wait for Roger to miss, because that’s not gonna happen over best of five-sets match. Just different, you know, small details that I used well today.
Q. You had three straight aces in that final game, too. Was your heart starting to race as you realized you had put Federer away in straight sets?
MARIN CILIC: Well, it sort of was just pumping a bit more when I missed the last one. On the first three I didn’t feel anything. (Smiling.) Even when I was closing out the second set I served also great game, and I was very, very relaxed, yeah.
Q. You’re a deep-thinking guy. What do you think this means to see you and Kei in the final? No big four in the final.
MARIN CILIC: Well, it’s a bit of a changeup year considering all the past years that these top four guys were making to the final. Wawrinka opened the doors for us from the “second” line, and I think most of the guys have now bigger belief that they can do it on the Grand Slams. Just over here as well, Kei beat Wawrinka, beat Novak, and Milos, so played amazing, amazing tournament. I think it’s gonna be extremely interesting for the next several, for sure, Grand Slams.
Q. Goran, he said that it’s not what he tells you to believe, that you would listen to him. He said you have to believe in yourself that you can win. Is it difficult for you to have this belief?
MARIN CILIC: I mean, it’s coming through longer period of time. I mean, you can’t sort of believe in yourself if you’re not performing well on the court and if you’re not performing well on the big occasions against big players. You know, few last months I felt I played really well. I was close in some matches, and just that I have gave me more belief and motivation. When I’m playing now these bigger matches I feel like if I’m going to play well I have a good chance. So I think that’s different mindset than what I used to have, because before I felt that I should, you know, play more than what I’m able to, and then, you know, the game breaks. So you can’t sort of play more than 100% of your performance.
Q. He said he was very proud of you, also.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, he told me. (Smiling.)
Q. You seem also physically stronger this year in addition to your mental strength in a lot of recent performances, and I wonder if you could talk about the interrelatedness of the strength.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, absolutely. I feel in general I’m hitting the serve bigger, the shots are more compact, and I’m moving, I would say, very comfortably on the court. I’m able to run down some balls that I wasn’t before. And even, you know, when I’m playing these long, long matches like the one with Simon, I’m able to recover quicker. So I feel that I’m — I worked physically a lot. And also with Goran the intensity on the tennis court is pretty high. So I feel, you know, everything with that adds up to, you know, being better in all aspects.
Q. What do you remember about where you were last year during this tournament? How much were you watching? And how much does all of that make being here in the final only 12 months later more surprising or special?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I mean, I was at home and was working, preparing as much as I could and was using every day to train. Well, to be in this position I was working for all my life. You are sort of — when you are young on the tour you always feel, you know, you have enough time. You have a lot of Grand Slams. You’re gonna do well. But, I mean, when the time starts to pass by you are more anxious if it’s gonna happen or it’s not gonna happen. You know, the best guys are not going away and sort of feel if it’s gonna happen ever. Just to be in this situation, I mean, I can say this moment is extremely huge achievement. Just by watching all the other players make it this far the Grand Slams, I mean, for most of them, for the guys that are top feels normal, but for some guys that are making for the first time it’s, I mean, achievement of the career.
Q. Roger said that you were covering the court better than ever before. Are you seeing it and reading it better than ever before? Did that ball look a little bigger today than some other days?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I mean, I felt that today I was hitting the ball extremely clean. I mean, I have some days where I am shanking a lot of balls, but today it was very pure from my end of the court. It was just, you know — like today when I’m playing aggressively, sort of for the guys it’s difficult to open up the court. I’m trying to play a little faster and, you know, in different situations if the guy’s doing that it’s difficult to, you know, find some angles or open up the court. So I feel with that I was covering the court even better.
Q. Did you have equal confidence in every ball that you were serving, forehand, backhand?
MARIN CILIC: Yes, for sure. It was different from one end to the other, and through the wind, of course, I was swinging a little bit harder. I mean, through the wind. With the wind I was placing the ball a bit better. I felt that tactical-wise from my own shots was pretty well made.
Injured Rafael Nadal Ousts Fritz In Wimbledon Thriller
The world No.4 is through to the semi-finals but there are new doubts over his current health.
Rafael Nadal has kept his chances of achieving a calendar slam alive by defeating American Taylor Fritz in a dramatic quarter-final match at Wimbledon where he struggled with injury.
The second seed took a medical time out during the second set but continued to battle to a sensational 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(10-4), win over Fritz. Two days ago Nadal was seen wearing tape on his abdomen but refused to go into details when asked by reporters. Although it was clear that this issue is ongoing with the Spaniard crouching over a couple of times after serving in pain.
“The body is generally fine. Of course, in the abdominal area, something is not going well. I had to find a way to serve a little bit differently,” said Nadal. “I was thinking during a lot of moments that I would not be able to finish the match but the energy (of Center Court) was something else.”
In the roller-coaster encounter, 19 breaks of serves occurred throughout the marathon match. During the gut-busting 260-minute showdown Nadal saw plenty of chances come and go. In each of the first two sets, he had a break advantage before losing them. He also failed to maintain a break advantage in the decider before coming through in the tiebreak. Nevertheless, he managed to come out on top with the help of 5 aces and 55 winners.
“I enjoy playing these kinds of matches in front of you guys (the crowd),” the Spaniard continued.
“It has been a tough afternoon against a great player. All the credit to Taylor, he has been playing great the whole season.’
“From my side, it was not an easy match and I am happy to be in the semifinal.”
The triumph is a bitter pill for Fritz to swallow who was bidding to become the youngest American man to reach the last four at Wimbledon since 2005. Until now he had been on an eight-match winning streak.
As for Nadal, he is through to his eighth Wimbledon semi-final and 38th at a major event. He is now 8-0 when it comes to playing quarter-final matches at the tournament.
Amid concerns over the abdomen, Nadal now has only two days to recover in time for his blockbuster showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who came through his match in straight sets against Cristian Garin. Nadal leads their head-to-head 6-3 and has won their two previous meetings at SW19.
“I hope to be ready to play it,” he said of the semi-final.
“TNick is a great player on all surfaces, especially on the grass. He’s having a great grass-court season and it’s going to be a great challenge. I need to be one hundred percent.”
At the age of 36 Nadal is seeking to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011.
“I Thought The Ship Had Sailed’ – Nick Kyrgios Reaches Maiden Wimbledon Semis
The 27-year-old reacts to achieving a new milestone in his career.
Nick Kyrgios has achieved his best-ever result at a Grand Slam tournament after beating Cristian Garin in straight sets in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios, who was playing in the last eight of the tournament for the first time since 2014, rallied to a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5(5) win over his Chilean rival. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last four of the men’s draw since Lleyton Hewitt did so back in 2005.
”I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot. He’s a hell of a player,” Kyrgios said afterward. “He’s obviously very confident. Hell of a tournament for him to make the quarter-finals. I got lucky on a couple of break points here and there. It could have been him standing here (giving the winner’s interview).”
In what was a largely controlled match from Kyrgios, he produced a total of 17 aces alongside 35 winners against 29 unforced errors. There were the occasional outbursts and criticism of the lines officials but it was by nowhere as controversial as his previous encounters against Stefanos Tsitspas in the third round and Paul Jubb in the first.
The breakthrough comes during what has been a turbulent career. Kyrgios has been a player involved in many controversies and was at one stage issued with a suspended ban from the Tour due to unsportsmanlike conduct. However, his talent was never doubted but many were unsure if he could be consistent enough to have a deep run at a major event. He once was at a pub until 4 am on the same day he was due to play Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.
“It was an amazing atmosphere out here (on court one). I never thought I will be in the semifinal of a grand slam. I thought my ship had sailed.” He admits.
“I didn’t go about things earlier in my career great and I may have wasted (time).’
‘I’m really proud of the way I’ve come back out here with my team and with that performance.”
As one of the few top 100 players who travel without a coach, Kyrgios paid tribute to those around him.
“I don’t have a coach I would never put that burden on someone,” he jokes.
“Each and every one of my team plays an important role. I feel like nobody knows my tennis better than I do. I’ve been playing this sport since I was seven and to be in the semi-final of a slam I am pretty happy.”
Kyrgios is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon semi-finalist since 2008.
Novak Djokovic Survives Almighty Sinner Scare to Reach Wimbledon Semis
The dramatic encounter featured a fight back, multiple breaks of serve and even an injury scare.
Reigning champion Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to keep his hopes of winning a seventh Wimbledon title alive after ousting Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller.
Djokovic, who only dropped six games against Sinner in their previous Tour meeting, was forced to battle back from two sets down to prevail 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in a roller-coaster encounter on Center Court. The triumph marks Djokovic’s 84th win at the tournament which is the joint-second highest tally in history alongside Jimmy Connors. Only Roger Federer has won more.
“Huge congratulations to Jannik today for a big fight. I’m sure that there are going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage. He’s mature for his age and is already an established top 15 player over the last few years,” said Djokovic.
“He was unfortunate today but he has plenty of time.”
Taking on one of the most promising future prospects of men’s tennis, Djokovic’s latest encounter was a match of two halves. Initially, he appeared as if he would suffer a shock loss to world No.13 before he managed to conjure up an emphatic comeback. Breaking Sinner’s spirit who was bidding to become only the third Italian man to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in history.
“We had two different matches. He was the better player for two sets. (Then) I went out for a toilet break, had a little pep talk (with myself) in the mirror,” the 20-time major winner revealed.
“Sometimes in these circumstances where not much is happening positively for you on the court in terms of tennis. These things are necessary – a little break and pep talk to try to recuperate.’
“I was fortunate to start well in the third set by breaking his serve and that gave me the confidence boost. I saw a bit of doubt in his game and my experience of these kinds of matches helped me.”
The first set was a roller-coaster encounter between the two tennis titans on Center Court. Reigning champion Djokovic started out guns blazing by winning seven points in a row before Sinner got onto the scoreboard after prevailing in a 17-shot rally. The top seed looked to be in full control until a double fault on break point enabled his rival to bounce back. Continuing to play some inspired tennis with blistering shot-making, a cross-court winner enabled the Italian to break once again and this time had the chance to serve the opener out. A task he passed with flying colors.
Continuing to take his game to Djokovic, Sinner appeared unfazed about trying to become the youngest men’s semi-finalist at SW19 since 2007. Producing powerful hitting from the baseline, the 20-year-old extended his lead two games into the second frame. A stunning backhand volley followed by a Djokovic error elevated him to a 2-1 advantage. Spurred on by the crowd, the unprecedented onslaught continued with the help of some costly errors from the Serbian. He sealed the double break with the help of a successful Hawk-Eye challenge before securing a two-set lead in his favor with the help of a 122mph service.
Facing a swift exit, Djokovic once again illustrated the fighting spirit that he is renowned for. Capitalizing on a blip in form from Sinner, he cruised through the third set to resurrect his chances.
Steaming rolling his way into a decider, Djokovic continued his dominance during the fourth frame by winning four straight games. However, closing that set out was full of drama. First, Sinner suffered an injury scare after going over his ankle before continuing. Then Djokovic fended off a break point and squandered two set points before closing it out.
A stunning sliding passing shot in the decider set Djokovic up with a chance to break and move to a game away from victory. Something he did with the help of a Sinner error which the Italian instantly regretted by putting both his hands on his head. After that mishit, Djokovic ended the clash with a love service game.
“I’ve been blessed to play professional tennis for 20 years but nevertheless I go through those doubtful moments like everybody else. The inner fight is always the biggest fight. Once you win the fight the external circumstance is more likely to go in your favor. I knew I could turn this match around. I have done that a few times in grand slams.” Djokovic concluded.
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