HEAD sat down with Marin Cilic to find out a little bit more about his interests, life on tour and his mom's home cooking. He also offered a few training tips for serious tennis players and told us why he plays with the YOUTEK Radical MP.
How would your friends or peers describe you?
I am not 100% sure but I believe they would say that I am quite calm, honest, always working hard and looking to improve in different things.
Was there a tennis player you idolized when you were a kid?
There was always someone who I liked to watch. In 90ís there was a great generation of players, and it was great time for tennis. As I'm a Croatian my idol was Goran Ivanisevic. He was a player that everyone liked to watch, especially because of his personality.
How do you spend the last 30 minutes right before a match?
Usually before the match I have little warm up. I do few exercises to get warm and then 10-15 minutes before the match, I try to find some space for myself where I can focus on the things I want to do during the match, and also to prepare mentally for that.
What does a typical day include for you? What is your schedule like from when you wake up in the morning and then go to sleep at night?
A typical day when Iím not playing in tournaments is that I like to have an early morning tennis session, after that a gym workout, break for lunch and some rest, then in the afternoon practice and then having the evening off. Depending on the location, I can add also little relaxation with friends in the evening.
What is the funniest/strangest thing youíve seen happen at a tournament, either in the playerís lounge area or on court?
One of the strangest things that happened to me while playing a tennis match was in 2007 during Wimbledon. I played a match against Gilles Simon and after winning a 4th set to tie the score at two sets all, the sprinklers turned on accidentally and water was all over the court. We ended up changing courts, but when we started to play on the other court, it was humid and wet as it was covered right before we came on it. Again, we moved to another court and then finished our match there after almost a 20 minute break. Unfortunately I lost it. It was a little strange that something like that could happen at Wimbledon.
Life on tour is probably very demanding. What do you do when you arenít playing or travelling to relax?
Life is not easy when you are on the road, the year is very long and you canít be always in a good mood. A lot of times my brother is travelling with me so he keeps me company so we can go for a dinner, a drink in a city, cinema, play some golf, whatever is available. Most important is not to have your mind on tennis all day; you need some hobby for relaxation to keep your mind fresh for tennis.
What are your favorite things to eat while you are on the road?
I canít live without meat, thatís the food I eat almost every day. I like to eat at Italian restaurants, their cuisine is very similar to Croatian cuisine. They have perfect food for athletes, a lot of pasta and also meat. But in the end, nothing compares to Momís cooking. Maybe during some tournaments sheíll be able to join.
What three training tips would you offer to someone wanting to improve their tennis game?
When I was younger and just starting to play futures tournaments, I worked much more on the tennis court to improve my endurance with intensity, using a lot of drills where you have to move. Working outside of the court on your physical ability can help you but not as much as on the tennis court. The other thing would be to strengthen your extensions of the court, your ability to control your body when you are out of balance. A workout with heavy weights in the gym helps you with that. And the third thing would be your will to be able to push yourself when it's really hard. In the end that makes a difference and makes your mind stronger so you know you are always ready to give more than 100%.
If you were not a professional tennis athlete, what profession do you think you would be in?
If I wasnít playing tennis, I would definitely try to play some other sport, maybe basketball because of my height. If not, I would probably go to school and enjoy being home.
Why did you choose the HEAD YOUTEK Radical MP racquet as your weapon of choice?
The first time I played with my HEAD racquet I knew that was the one I liked. During the first tournament I played with it, I had a great result so I didnt have any doubts at all.