Marin Cilic has been impressive in his two outings in Brisbane since the start of the season, picking up victories over Denis Istomin and and upset win over Grigor Dimitrov to reach the quarter-finals. The former world No. 10 admits that his improvements and focus on court is due to his renewed partnership with former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic.
One of the first things that they worked on ahead of the start of the 2014 season was improving Cilic’s serve, which was evident in his first two matches of the season.
“To simplify. Throw the ball in the air and hit it,” Cilic said . “For me before, I was a lot thinking about the serve. To be more relaxed, nothing unusual. But we worked a lot on it, and it seems that it fit in the right place. We worked a lot also on volleys, and of course game at the net where I had the most space to improve. Last few years I was not doing too well at the net and I wasn’t playing as offensive as I would want to, the way I would need to play, like a taller player, to have shorter points and put more pressure on the other guy.”
Cilic has had a turbulent 2013 season as he served a four-month suspension for testing positive for nikethamide and believes that this season brings the possibility of a “new beginning.” He mentioned that Goran has already impacted his game this early in the season and is vital to him because he offers him Grand Slam experience that Cilic was lacking beforehand.
“Goran showed me already a lot of things. I feel my game is improving. Goran say all the things that he went through many more times than I did already in my career he can show me and tell me in front, ‘Okay, be careful of this.’ He’s going to be one step ahead of me in some kind of situations. I think that’s huge help when you have something like that, especially someone like him who was Top 10 for many years in his career, played many times in finals of Grand Slams.
I think he knows the game and he knows what I need to improve on. I think he’s the right guy to help me.”
Cilic is scheduled to meet Japanese no. 1 Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals on Friday afternoon.