The hero of Croatia’s 2018 Davis Cup triumph, Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic is looking forward to the new challenge that faces him and his team-mates in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals.
Marin Cilic treasures wonderful Davis Cup memories from his entire career – from juniors right up to today – but the most precious ones came in 2018, when Croatia beat defending champions France to lift the Silver Salad Bowl for the second time.
“It was an incredible feeling last year,” he recalls. ”We had an incredible atmosphere in our team when we played France in the final with that many people in the stadium - nearly 25,000 - watching tennis, cheering us. It was a day to remember. It’s going to be a pleasure for us to battle it out in a different format.”
As Croatia’s most capped player, Cilic has a wealth of experience – and warns that his team have a difficult task ahead in November, describing Group B as the toughest of all.
“On paper, Russia and Spain are probably the toughest two teams,” he says. “Both will have incredibly good guys and they’ll be really tough matches from the get-go. It’s going to be a battle - but we believe in our chances.
“Rafael Nadal will be playing back home if he’s healthy, Roberto Bautista Agut is having an incredible season and Spain always have good doubles teams that can help them out. The Russians have Karen Khachanov, Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev - youngsters that are pushing through the rankings and playing the best tennis of their careers.”
The 31-year-old is, of course, looking forward to Madrid – and the challenge offered by the week-long quest to be the best of the 18 top tennis nations.
“There’s the possibility that you can even lose one day and still go through the group to the quarter-finals as second best,” he points out. “It’s going to be a little bit different - but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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