After his victory over Kei Nishikori at ATP World Tour Finals, the first of his career at the O2 Arena, Marin ends the year as the world No 6.
“I definitely want to go get to the Top 5 next year and to win another Grand Slam”
A few months after establishing the Marin Cilic Foundation, which supports educational projects and aspires to give young people improved access to education around the world, Marin has been honoured with the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in the 2016 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon.
“I want to give something back and also give some opportunities for some people and some kids that don’t have as many possibilities to pursue their dreams. I feel it’s the most prestigious award. It’s the one I’m going to value the most.”
A few days after securing his second participation at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Marin reaches his best career position on Monday, November 07, climbing to 7th place in the ATP rankings.
Thanks to his great season and especially his titles at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati and at the Swiss Indoors Basel, Marin secured his spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the prestigious season-ending tournament, to be held from 13-20 November at The O2 in London.
Marin captured the 16th title of his career with a dominant 6-1, 7-6 (5) defeat of Kei Nishikori (Japan – ATP 5). On his way to the final, Marin beat Mikhail Youzhny, Pablo Carreno Busta, Marcel Granollers and Mischa Zverev.
“It was a good week for me, playing another final. I had some good wins. I had pressure all week fighting to qualify for London, but it was a great week for me.”
In his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, Marin claimed his 15th title with a 6-4, 7-5 win against Andy Murray (ATP 2) after one hour and 34 minutes, ending the Scot’s 22-match winning streak.
“This week was unbelievable for me, I served extremely well today and that helped me a lot. I felt today that everything was good.”
Jonas Björkman, former world number 4 in singles and former number 1 in doubles Swedish professional swedish tennis player, joins Marin’s team.
“I’m really looking forward to it, we’ll be working on new challenges and I hope a new successful period in my career.”
In his first clay-court tournament of the season, Marin reached his second final in 2016. In a high-quality match, Marin lost 6-4, 7-6 (13-11) to the Swiss star Stan Wawrinka (ATP 4), after having five set points in the tie-break, but lost all five. It was Marin’s first tournament since March because of a knee injury, wich will help him to renew confidence in his game and to reclaim a place in the Top 10 rankings, right before Roland-Garros.
“This week, I felt I was moving really well, returning very solidly. It was a great match-up before Roland-Garros. It was nice to be in the final.”
In his 1st ATP final 2016 and 5 years after having also finished runner-up, Marin lost against Nick Kyrgios (ATP 41) 6-2, 7-6(3). On his way to the final, Marin beat Robin Haase and Andrey Kuznetsov before ousting the Frenchman Benoit Paire.
“I'm satisfied with my week, I played at very good level. I feel I’m playing better and better and my serve is solid. Now I have to keep moving forward. It was a pleasure to play here in Marseille.”
In a rematch of the 2014 final, Marin defeated again Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 to retain his Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow title. It was the first final in 2015 for Marin, who missed the first months of the season due to a right shoulder injury.
“It was nice to come back to Moscow. I was feeling relaxed and enjoyed the atmosphere. It is very nice to win it back-to-back. This tournament is becoming more and more special for me. I hope to be back next year for a third one.”
Marin’s triumph at Flushing Meadows in 2014 came as a surprise, as he had never reached a Grand Slam final. Sidelined by a shoulder injury at the start of the 2015, several months have been necessary to find back confidence. But on the blue hard courts in New-York, Marin has found his top form at the right moment. He finally falls in his quest to defend his US Open title in semi-final, beaten by Novak Djokovic, the eventual winner.
“Extremely great tournament, obviously very unlucky that I twisted the ankle. I was fighting pretty well during the full tournament and considering it’s my first time experiencing having to defend a Grand Slam title, I feel that I accomplished that well. I'm very, very positive coming out of the tournament.”
Marin claimed the fifth spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and was the first Croatian to play at the season finale since Ivan Ljubicic, qualified for the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. It is the season-ending event for the best singles players and doubles teams on the 2014 ATP World Tour.
“This was one of my childhood dreams. It happens this year and I'm extremely happy about this success. It's another achievement in my career. The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is for sure one of the most interesting tournaments of the year. It is watched all over the world and brings a big attendance to all the matches. It will be a big honour for me to participate there.”
Marin lifted his fourth title of the year by defeating Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-4, 6-4 in the final, for the 13th title of his career.
“After winning such a big tournament as a Grand Slam, you have a lot of emotions and it’s important to bounce back and keep going. I feel this is going to be a really good push for my career. All the titles are special but this one will definitely have an important spot. It is important for my progress.”
After his US Open title and 2014 good results, Marin reaches a career-high of 8th in the world rankings.
After defeating Marcos Baghdatis, Illya Marchenko and Kevin Anderson with little trouble before reaching the fourth round where he held off Gilles Simon, whom he has never defeated before, Marin played then almost perfect tennis against two Top 10 players, Tomas Berdych and Roger Federer, winning in straight sets. Then, in a meeting between two first-time Grand Slam finalists, he defeated Kei Nishikori by 6:3, 6:3, 6:3 to lift the trophy.
“This is all hard work of these last several years, and especially this last year. My team has brought something special to me, especially Goran. We’re working really hard, but most important from all the things he brought to me was enjoying tennis and I think I played the best ever in my life.”
Marin claimed his second crown in three weeks after dispatching Anderson in three hours and eight minutes (the longest final in tournament history).
“It feels awesome, especially after waiting for a long time last night and finishing after 1am. It wasn't easy for my nerves, for Goran’s nerves especially.”
After beating two Top 10 players (Tsonga and Murray), Marin lost in final against Tomas Berdych.
“It was a tough one today. What made the difference in the end was that Tomas served really well! The tournament was great, I played great tennis and enjoyed it here.”
Marin defeated top-seeded German Tommy Haas (ATP 12) and became one of only three Croatian players who won at least ten titles during their career.
“It is nice feeling to be here in the final. I played good tennis this week. It was really important for me and I played today the best tennis comparing to all the matches this week. Goran Ivanisevic has prepared me tactically. I served good when I got rhythm, but I would say my return was on the top.”
Marin started working with new coach, the retired croatian player Goran Ivanisevic, and new manager Vincent Stavaux, many players’ former manager.
Marin won his ninth career title, defeating Jürgen Melzer in the final. He extended his run of winning at least one title per year since 2008.
“In the final against Melzer, I produced probably my best tennis ever in final.”
Marin became the first home player to win the Croatia Open after 22 years, by defeating Marcel Granollers in the final.
“This first win in Umag was nice: I already won titles in Zagreb in 2009 and 2010 and collecting also this one was very special. Usually, Croatian players weren’t doing too well in Umag so I am happy to break this tradition. Very special for me to be among the few players on the Tour to have titles on all different surfaces (clay, hard, indoor and grass).”
In London, Marin won his eighth title and first grass court title.
“Very prestigious tournament, top tennis names were winning this tournament and to be among them was extremely special.”
Marin won his sixth career title by defeating world no. 10 Janko Tipsarević in the final.
Marin played for Croatia in the World Group playoffs in the first round of the 2011 Davis Cup, defeating Florian Mayer in the opening singles rubber and Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first reverse singles rubber. However, Germany ultimately won the tie.
Marin reached the final after saving a match point in the semi-final against Mikhail Youzhny. In the final, Marin lost against Soderling.
“After great start in 2010, form was going down and this tournament was small respite but still far away from the form I had in beginning of 2010.”
Marin reached 14th place on ATP list.
Marin reached the final and lost against Mikhail Youzhny.
Marin achieved a new career high-ranking of no. 9 as a result. He had best ever win-loss record at the start of the season with 15 wins and 1 loss.
Marin followed up his Australian campaign by defending his title in Zagreb, defeating Michael Berrer in the final.
“Continuing top form with the win at home, second one in a row. My form couldn’t have been better.”
Marin became the first Croatian to reach the semi-finals but lost against Andy Murray.
“Definitely best tournament in my career. I won against Santoro, Tomic, Wawrinka, Del Potro, Roddick and then lost against Murray. I played 3 matches in 5 sets before semi-final and also one tough 4 sets match with Wawrinka.”
Marin beat Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets.
“I remember this match vs Wawrinka as one of the toughest 2 sets ever: match was 7-6 7-6 and it lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes. I don’t want to think what could have happened if we would have played 3rd set.”
Marin lost against Monfils in exciting match in front of probably full stadium in Bercy.
“Another good result to finish the year. After Basel quarters, I played good tournament in Bercy. Great season behind me.”
Marin reached the fifth final of his career at the 2009 Bank Austria-TennisTrophy but lost against Jurgen Melzer.
“Another nice result, after quarters at US open and Beijing final. My form was becoming better and better.”
Following his impressive US Open (quarter-final), Cilic participated at the China Open in Beijing as eighth seed. After beating in semi-final world no. 2 and top seed (in the tournament) Rafael Nadal in straight sets win, Marin went down to second seed Novak Djokovic in final.
“This week in Beijing, I’ve played my best tennis ever. On the court, I felt amazing. I felt that I can hit the ball with my eyes closed. I think for all tennis players, this feeling is amazing: it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, you wish that it never stops.”
Marin reached his first ever quarter-final at Grand Slam and on his route to 1/4 he beat world n°2 Andy Murray in 3 straight sets. Lost to Del Potro, eventual winner.
“Best ever result for me: this win (in 3 straight sets) against Andy Murray in best match of my life was huge. In quarter-final, I was 6-4 3-1 up against Del Potro on a very windy day. From that moment, when I gave him a chance to come back in the match, he started to play tennis from different planet. He won the tournament later, winning easily vs Nadal in semi-final and then vs Federer in the close final. My ranking was very close to Top 10.”
Marin lost against Andy Murray in a match with great tennis.
“I was playing well but somehow he was able to come up with great solutions at perfect times. With this match I felt that I was coming closer to the best players and that I was on the perfect way to be one of them soon.”
Marin won the PBZ Zagreb defeating his compatriot Mario Ančić in the final.
“As always, playing in front of the home crowd brought something more out of me. I'm very patriotic and in those rare occasions, I enjoy playing at home. On the final, it was full stadium, I played Mario and we produced good tennis for the spectators.”
Marin won his second career ATP title defeating first time finalist Somdev Devvarman.
“It's in very difficult conditions that I captured the second title of my career. In Chennai, humidity is extreme, winning this tournament is definitely good effort. I had with this win perfect preparation for Australian Open.”
After the two first matches, Marin lost against Novak Djokovic.
“I remember this US Open where we played an exciting night match in front of crowded Arthur Ashe stadium. Of all the tournaments except maybe Davis Cup, that particular match had by far the best atmosphere.”
Marin played the Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, where he won his first ATP title. He defeated Mardy Fish in the final.
“Back from the Olympics, I went to New Haven, enjoying my time there, with good practice and nice experience from Beijing. Everything clicked that week and I played extremely well, and finally captured my 1st ATP title.”
Marin lost in 2nd round against Fernando Gonzalez, who played the final.
“My first Olympic Games. Absolutely amazing feeling to be around thousands of athletes in Olympic Village. To represent my country, to be on a competition which I admired the most as a kid when I watched it on TV, to be a part of the opening ceremony… All those things stay good memories. I had so much fun with everyone at Beijing, I met many Croatian athletes and that was for me big experience.”
Marin lost against Clément, after defeating Mathieu and Nieminen.
“I remember this year as the one where I had a good chance to make some great results. For all of us in that draw, it was an opportunity not to be missed considering some big names defeats and draw just opened up for players who were ranked bit lower. Unfortunately, Clement played amazing match against me and beat me in 3 sets. It was disappointing but I was still definitely happy with my 4th round appearance.”
For his first Grand Slam directly in the main draw, Marin won the 1st round against Nicolas Almagro. After a second round against Melzer, Marin played one of the best matches in his career vs Fernando Gonzalez and won it in 4 sets. Then, Marin lost in 4th round against Blake.
“There, I remember some tight situations between Croatian supporters and Almagro during 1st round. On 4th round, James Blake played really solid and didn't leave me a chance. This result pushed me into Top 50 and was unbelievable start for 2008.”
Marin lost to Youzhny who played amazing that week, winning the tournament later vs Nadal in the final.
“Nice week at Chennai where I opened the season on a nice way. This result pushed me on the rankings again.”
Marin played one week of high level tennis, from qualifing to semi-final. On his road, he beat Davydenko and Gulbis, and lost to Verdasco.
“I remember this tournament as last one for me in 2007 and I broke to Top 100, all the way to number 71 in the rankings.”
Marin received a wild card for 1st Wimbledon ever.
“One very strange thing happened on my 1st visit at Wimbledon. I was playing vs Simon on court 19. I was losing 2 sets to 1 and I won the 4th after good set. We went to sit down at the end of the set and then, one sprinkler behind the court went on and watered one end of the court ! It was funny moment: referee and chair umpire came to the court and after discussion they made the decision that we move to court close by (number 16 I think) to continue our match because ours was completely wet and playing on it wasn't possible anymore. After 10-15min we continued on the new court which was covered, but it was also bit damp. On first point, I slipped badly so referee decided again that we move to court 14 where one match has just finished. It was getting dark and we had to finish the match so eventually I lost in the 5th set with 6-3. It wasn't the best experience for the 1st time at Wimbledon where I had always dreamed of playing.”
Marin received a wild card for main draw and played in 1st round against Henman on opening day of the tournament. He also beat Tsonga in 3rd round but lost against Roddick in quarter-final.
“I had a great week and with this result I arrived to spot 101 on the rankings. But it took me another 4 months to reach Top 100 as I dropped some points from last year's Gstaad tournament in July.”
After 3 qualifying rounds, Marin lost in 1st round in Paris.
Marin won the first and second professional tournaments of his career: the Casablanca Challenger (in April) and the Rijeka Challenger (in May).
“First wins at Challenger level, I played good tennis at both events, especially in Casablanca where I beat some very good players.”
The 1st win in Davis Cup for Croatia came in dead-rubber vs Benjamin Becker.
After 3 qualifying rounds, Marin lost in 1st round in Melbourne.
“I made it through qualifying to reach my 1st ever Grand Slam main draw. I remember that on that day, heat rule was announced. During the day, all the matches were stopped because of high temperatures and they moved all the matches to be played in the evening. I didn't play well in that 1st round match but I was anyway pleased with the start of the year.”
Marin's first great result at ATP tour level, from qualifying he made it to semi-final with very good wins in main draw. After Gstaad, Marin moved up very close to 200th position on the rankings.
Marin lost the game against David Nalbandian, number 4 in the world at that time.
“I didn't have too much fun on the court, match finished very quickly in his favor but to play in front of home crowd against this kind of player was big boost for my experience.”
Marin won 9 matches in a row on his home court at National centre. He finally lost in the final of 2nd tournament to Mischa Zverev.
“For me, that was the continuation of great tennis in the beginning of the year. After Zagreb ATP, those were very important points for me to move up on ATP rankings.”
In Graz, after first 2 days, result was 3-0 for Croatia and Marin made his debut in dead rubber on last day against Stefan Koubek.
“Ivan Ljubicic was player and captain of our Davis Cup team. Unfortunately I lost but it was special feeling to represent my country.”
Marin's first appearance at Zagreb Tournament, he received a wild card for main draw and in the 1st round beat Igor Andreev, ranked 26 at that time. In 2nd round he lost to Andreas Seppi in 3 tight sets.
“Great start of professional career. I stopped with Juniors circuit and dedicated my thoughts only to Pro tournaments. Year couldn't have started better.”
Marin finished year 2005 as number 2 Juniors behind Donald Young. In 2005 as a Junior, he collected trophies at French Open, Roehampton, Osaka and Eddie Herr tournament.
Marin played seven Futures tournaments in 2005, winning one.
“My first win on Futures level arrived in Vinkovci, Croatia. In the final I played Lukas Lacko, another ATP player.”
It’s in Umag that Marin got his first wild card on ATP tournament.
“It was a dream coming true: to play with best players in the world. 3 or 4 years sooner, that would have been almost impossible to imagine. I still remember that day how I was unbelievably nervous during my match against Belgian Kristof Vliegen. Definitely huge experience for me.”
Marin beat Andy Murray in the semi-final and Antal van der Duim in the final.
“Another amazing result for me. That win opened me many doors and I was instantly recognized as a player who could have great future in tennis. I started to receive wild cards into different tournaments.”
Marin reached semi-final, first ever on Futures level. Losing to Robin Vik, Czech player who reached Top 100 very soon after.
After one week of good tennis, Marin became 16&U European Champion.
On Goran Ivanisevic’s proposal (after a conversation with Bob Brett), Marin went to San Remo for the 1st time and stayed there for 1 week.
“Bob invited me to practice there: I really liked it a lot and I improved in just 1 week.”
Croatian team (Jure Grubisic, Mikhail Karpol, Marin Cilic) won the European Indoor Championships.
“Amazing result for Croatian tennis to win European Team Championships. I still have nice memories of this moment with my fellow friends Jure Grubisic and Mikhail Karpol.”
Marin played his 1st ever Futures on the courts of National Tennis Centre. In the 1st round, he beat 1st seed, ranked 238 at that time.
“That was huge moment and huge win. Very interesting line-up of players.”
Marin won 1st ITF tournament in Mostar.
“This win happened in Mostar, city close to my home and that made it even more special.”
Marin met Del Potro in the final on a high level tournament on which a lot of players from all around the world are coming.
Marin was progressing in right way finishing the year with this great result.
That was the first tournament Marin met Juan Martin Del Potro, who was already at that time a very promising player. They met in semi-final where Del Potro won the match (and the tournament). For the 3rd place, Marin played vs another very familiar name - Donald Young.
In Medjugorje, Marin didn't have good options to practice. On invitation from Andrej Tonejc, coach from tennis federation (and his coach for next 3 years), Marin came to Zagreb to practice at National Tennis Centre and stayed with his godfather and godmother.
“That was difficult part of my life but I have never regretted my arrival to Zagreb. I met several very important people who were very precious for me at that young age.”
The finals of 14&U European Championships was Marin's best result until that day. In the final, he lost against Roberto Bautista, who became later a great tennis player.
Marin began playing tennis on local tennis courts in small city next to his hometown Medjugorje.
“I started tennis with my older brother Vinko when our father brought us to a tennis club. Vinko was already too old to start to play tennis at 12, but I was at proper age to start. I had also a very good friend of mine playing tennis, who is Ivan Dodig's younger brother. First tournaments started when I was 8. I won my first trophy at 8, making it to semi-final, on the tournament 10&U and I still have it at home, probably one of my favorite trophies.”
Marin was born in Medjugorje on 28th September 1988.!