Cilic Pleased With 2017 Progress
Marin Cilic did not have the Nitto ATP Finals he was hoping for this week. The fifth seed fell in all three of his Group Boris Becker matches, despite pushing them to three sets and leading by a break in the third set against Alexander Zverev and Jack Sock.
But when the Croatian fully looks back at his 2017 season, he will have much to be proud of this year.
For the second consecutive year, Cilic will finish in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, and for the 10th consecutive year, the 6'6” right-hander celebrated an ATP World Tour title. In May, Cilic won the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open (d. Raonic). It was his first clay-court title since winning in Umag in 2012.
“We did a lot of improvements this year. It was extremely positive. I think I played extremely consistent throughout the season, especially starting from the clay-court season,” said Cilic, whose season ended on Thursday when he lost to Roger Federer in London.
“Overall I felt that my level came to a new level. So hopefully even more next year, I can aim a little bit higher. Where is that going to be? I'm not sure. But hopefully I'm going to be in a position to challenge the top guys and to be in contention for Grand Slams.”
Cilic also reached finals at the Aegon Championships and The Championships this year. The Wimbledon final was his second Grand Slam title match. The 29-year-old won the 2014 US Open.
“I would say that clay-court season was extremely successful for me. I had the best clay-court season ever. Played quite consistently there. I think that helped me to play well on the grass courts. With my form during the grass-court season, I was really, really satisfied,” Cilic said.
This year marks the first time Cilic has started the season inside the Top 10 and finished the season there. In January he was ranked No. 6; he entered the Nitto ATP Finals as the World No. 5 but will drop to at least No. 6.
“That just shows the consistency level. I'm very much aware of my game, that even though, for example, in this year I didn't start so well, I didn't lose faith. So I played really well that middle patch of the year,” Cilic said.
“Hopefully for next year I'm going to be even better throughout the full season. That's going to give me the chances to play the best guys on a Grand Slams and to perform over there the best.”
Cilic, though, is perplexed with his fortunes in London, where he fell to 1-8 lifetime on Thursday.
He has played well indoors elsewhere, such as when he won the 2016 Swiss Indoors Basel title (d. Nishikori). But Cilic plans to discuss with his team how he can post better results in the future, perhaps even at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals.
“Just in these last three weeks – Basel, Paris and here – with my form, I didn't keep it up. I think I'm just going to have to find a reason with my team why it happened, especially at this crucial stage of the year where a lot of points could have been won. A little bit unfortunate to just drop the form at the end.”