Cilic: Goran helps me find my game

ZAGREB, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The second Friday is the day of men's singles semifinals at Wimbledon. Marin Cilic came close to be among those who will fight for the place in the Sunday final but all he managed to do on Wednesday was a five-set lose against 2011 Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.

"I'm getting closer but once again victory slipped through my hands. I feel a little disappointed because I felt I had a good chance to beat Djokovic after being two sets to one up. At the beginning of the fourth set those two breaks were crucial. I let him off the hook and even though I tried I couldn't get back onto the winning track.

"But, looking back I have to be very happy with the quarterfinals. I played great throughout the tournament and in the match against Djokovic I didn't serve that well but managed to overcome that by playing good in the rallies. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to beat him," Cilic said summarizing his first quarterfinal experience at Wimbledon.

If he would have a chance to play this match all over again, he would've wished for a better start and a stronger finish. On his way to the quarter finals he beat Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu and Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer in the first two rounds but the victory he was waiting for was the one that came in the third round against No. 6 in the world and former Wimbledon finalist, Czech Tomas Berdych. He beat him in straight sets and repeated that in the next round against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. In those two matches he showed why he was and why he should be ranked in the Top 10.

That is something he will be aiming for in the next few months. By reaching Wimbledon quarterfinals Cilic gained enough points to return among Top 20 on the ATP rankings on Monday and he will have no obstacles in making further progress as he'll be only adding points in the next few months because of the ban he had to serve last year after Wimbledon.

"It's true that I don't have any points to defend until the end of the season and that will make it easier for me but my focus has to be on my game. I want to continue working like this and playing like I played in Wimbledon. I want to make great results at the biggest tournaments. This match against Djokovic was a great experience and with more matches like this under my belt I'll feel more comfortable."

Feeling comfortable on the court again was one of the main goals when he started his relationship with Goran Ivanisevic as his full-time coach. Improvements that 2001 Wimbledon champion wanted to implement in Cilic's game, especially on his serve, were obvious from the first tournament, last year at the BNP Paribas Masters. But, it's the All England Club where all pieces of the puzzle came into the right places. Cilic served 108 aces in five matches and put more than 60 percent first serves winning more than 80 percent points after his first delivery, except in the match against Djokovic when his numbers were significantly down to those in the previous four rounds.

"Goran had a great influence on my game. It wasn't easy to do that because I had to accept those changes and had to see that everything we were working on will work in matches. That became obvious here in Wimbledon which is great because it's the biggest tournament in the world and my favorite. I see it as a huge boost for the future of our relationship and my career. I have to thank Goran who helped me a lot to find my game and raise it to another level. I am confident that I will continue to improve and that I'll have many more great results this season."

After what he showed this year at Wimbledon, there is no doubt that Cilic is capable of doing that and move away from being a player who won 11 titles so far in his career but all of them at the ATP World Tour 250 level. One semifinal and three quarterfinals at the Grand Slam tournaments, six quarterfinals at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events are not results that go along with Cilic's talent and his ambition to be among the best in the world. With his 26th seems to be at the peak of his powers and with Goran Ivanisevic at his side he seemed to have found that special ingredient that will make him a threat and not a treat to the best in the world.