Cilic to be top seed in Chennai Open

Marin Cilic of Croatia will be the star attraction of the 22nd edition of the Aircel Chennai Open, India’s premier ATP World Tour event.

Marin Cilic has lifted the Chennai Open in 2009 and 2010.   -  R.Ragu

Marin Cilic of Croatia will be the star attraction of the 22nd edition of the Aircel Chennai Open, India’s premier ATP World Tour event.

Cilic confirmed his participation on Sunday, the day he attained his best ever ATP ranking of No. 6.

“I am so happy to announce on the day I’ve broken into the top six, that I am coming back to India, to play in front of adoring Chennai fans. I hope to break into the top five, and then into the top three, this year. I feel Chennai is a lucky hunting ground for me, and will help me achieve my immediate goal. I think it will be a great way to begin 2017,” he said.

“I have very fond memories of my trips to Chennai. It was kind of at a crucial stage of my career and my success here helped me become a better, more complete player,” he added.

On being the top seed in the tournament this year, he said, “It’s a nice feeling. But it will also put me under some pressure as I have to live up to the expectations. Hopefully, it will bring out the best in me.”

The 28-year-old made his maiden appearance at the event in 2008, after which he has returned six times. He has won the singles title twice — in 2009, and 2010.

“We are proud to be associated with the prestigious tournament for so many years. We have always strived to bring the best players to India and help Indian tennis,” said Tom Annear, the Tournament Director.

Cilic has been in fine form this year. He won the Cincinnati Masters in August, and the Swiss Indoors in October. He beat better-ranked players in Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and Kei Nishikori en route.

“I take this opportunity to thank the Tamil Nadu government for their continued support to the event. It’s an honour for us that Cilic is coming back to the event,” said M.A. Alagappan, President, Tamil Nadu Tennis Association.