Cilic Fixes Focus On The Big Prizes In 2018

Croatian No.2 seed aims to pass quarter-finals in Miami for the first time

Only Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal stand above him in the ATP Rankings, but for Marin Cilic, being the World No. 3 is not enough. With 17 ATP World Tour titles, including the 2014 US Open, the Croatian makes no secret of what he wants this season.

He starts his 10th Miami Open presented by Itau campaign as the No. 2 seed and will face either #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz or Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert after a first-round bye. In the tournament’s last year at its Key Biscayne site, Cilic would love nothing more than a deep run on the hard courts where big points are on offer after losing his opening match here last year (l. to Chardy).

“The conditions here are always very difficult, maybe one of the most difficult conditions we have on tour,” said Cilic, whose lone quarter-final in Miami came in 2013 (l. to Murray), when he defeated John Isner and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route.

“You can get the heat, the humidity, those cooler nights so you have to be ready for everything. It’s also the end of the hard-court season that we are approaching so that’s also a part of my motivation to do quite well.”

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Cilic appeared in his eighth season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in November and finished the season at No. 6 in the ATP Rankings. After failing to win a match at the group stage, he returned to Australia inspired and he delivered.

“I started great this season, opened it the best ever with the final at the Australian Open,” he said of his five-set defeat to defending champion Federer in the decider. “That perspective just gives my mind a good and stable strategy for moving forward in 2018. I didn’t finish 2017 the way I wanted.

“Obviously I finished at No. 6, which is still amazing, second year in a row. But still I want to push myself to be improving and getting better and obviously that means getting higher in the rankings. Hopefully this season can give me a lot of great results and hopefully another Grand Slam title as well.”

Two Grand Slam finals in six months gave the 29-year-old the cause to believe bigger things were still to come in 2018. “I don’t put myself under pressure every time. I’m trying to improve as much as I can,” he said.

“Things need to click as well to win a Grand Slam… But it’s nothing urgent. I’m definitely enjoying where I am at the moment and hopefully with my improvements and good results that’s going to happen.”

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