SYDNEY – Former Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic said he was fit and motivated to go through a difficult year in 2019 after scoring his second ATP Cup win in a row on Monday.
The 31-year-old Croatian had an unforgettable season last year and dropped from seven to 39 in the world rankings, his lowest year-end position since 2007.
But he started this season well and prevailed against Austrian Dennis Novak in Sydney on Saturday before defeating Poland's Kacper Zuk 7-6 (10-8) and 6-4 on Monday.
It helped Croatia to win the tie 2-1 in the first team event to achieve a strong position in Group E, which also includes Argentina and Austria.
Cilic, whose career high defeated Roger Federer at the 2014 US Open, is looking at a deep run at this month's Australian Open.
He reached the semi-finals in Melbourne Park in 2010 and lost to Federer in an epic with five movements in 2018.
“I feel motivated. I have a feeling that 2019 was a season in which I could learn some new things, ”said Cilic, whose wife is expecting her first child in February.
“All of these things are a good motivation for me to become stronger and to move a little further into 2020.
"I had good free time in the off-season, exercised well," he added after I retired from the Davis Cup in November with a knee injury.
"I think this event can definitely prepare things well for the rest of the season."
As an Australian conditions veteran who has participated in the Australian Open since 2007, he said he was as well prepared as possible for wild weather changes at the Melbourne Grand Slam.
“Melbourne is very difficult with the conditions. It can go from 40 degrees a day to 20 degrees a day. And even two years ago, the day was a couple of times at 40 degrees, and then you come into the night when it's 18, 17, ”he said.
"So you have to be prepared for everything. Nobody is fundamentally prepared for these extreme conditions."
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