Marin Cilic: 'Goal is to win a Grand Slam and finish in the Top-5'

Cilic hoped that the new season will be the one in which everything comes together.

Cilic said that the exploits of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have only spurred him on.   -  R. Ragu

Ever since he won the 2014 US Open, Marin Cilic has been seen as a player with a genuine shot at winning tennis’ biggest prizes. But mustering the required levels of motivation to succeed on a consistent basis has been his bane.

And at a time when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – supposedly in the twilight of their careers –  have kept raising the bar, the burden of expectations seem heavier than ever before.

However the 29-year-old, who is here at the Tata Open Maharashtra to start his season, remains unfazed and said that if anything, the exploits of the duo only spurred him on.

Read: Chennai Open no more

Excited about new season

“It just makes me more determined,” Cilic said. “They are examples of how you have to be every single day to be at the top. Apart from their natural ability, they adapt very well and still don't lose their competitive edge.”

“Over the years we have seen so many changes in Nadal's serve and forehand and now he is adapting to an entirely different style of play.

"Last year he improved on his second serve speeds. Roger has been improving his backhand. For me, it is a challenge but also a great time to play amongst them. It is going to be extremely exciting to go into this new season.”

READ: Cilic, Anderson to headline inaugural Maharashtra Open

'I got a bit mentally tired'

The year 2017 was supposed to have heralded exciting times too. Cilic did achieve his career-best ranking of No. 4 in October. But the loss in the Wimbledon final, while suffering from a blister on his right foot, and a deflating performance in the ATP World Tour finals, where he lost all three round-robin matches, made it less than special.

READ: Wimbledon: One had a blister, the other was simply blistering

“In that grass season, I was in every possible way the best I could ever be,” Cilic reflected. “I had had a great clay season, then made the Queen's final and then had a great run at Wimbledon. Unfortunately, I was not able to play at my best in the final.”

“Towards the end of the season, I got a bit mentally tired. I had played a lot of tennis. Since the US Open, I had played the Davis Cup, Laver Cup and Asian tour. So I felt a bit drained mentally. So in a way, I learnt a lesson to be a little bit smarter with my scheduling.”

The Croat hoped that the new season will be the one in which everything comes together.

“The goal is to win a Grand Slam and finish in the Top-5. Last season I achieved great success and brought my consistency a little bit higher and hopefully this year I can keep it a little bit longer.”