Interview with Marin Cilic following his withdrawal from The Championships through injury
Q. Can you just explain a little bit about your decision to withdraw.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, well, I started to have difficulties with my knees also during Queen's, but even before, a couple months back it sort of started to come back because I had a major injury with that a year and a half ago.
Then also during the last week, I was during practice feeling it already. Then on Sunday before my first-round match, felt it really bad in my serve when I would, you know, go down in the motion.
It was just big pain. But sort of for the match, I was also feeling a little bit, but play through it. Obviously little bit with playing the match and then three sets, and yesterday, I think I felt it much, much worse.
It was difficult for me to put weight on my left leg, which is where the pain is. So today I had basically no choice to. I can also risk something bigger to play.
Q. How long have you had the problem, would you say? A couple of weeks?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, couple weeks. I mean, started much more as I played more matches on grass, and in Queen's, and also last week I played two exhibitions in Stoke. With that load, sort of started maybe everything a couple months ago where I started slowly feeling it when I would even sit, just normal reactions what I had also before two years ago.
So then started much more from Saturday, Sunday onwards.
Q. I know that injuries are a personal thing. There's been a big trend of people pulling out today. Do you think it's something about the surface? Is this all just a coincidence?
MARIN CILIC: I would say very black day. I mean, the other days, other weeks, there were no pull-outs. I mean, just happened today everything.
So difficult to say what's the explanation. But, I mean, everything is related to individual. Difficult to say what the real issue is.
Q. Is tennis just too physical a game now somehow?
MARIN CILIC: I wouldn't put it that way. I would say in any sport, athletes are driving themselves to be at their limits. There is always a fine limit between overdoing and being in 100% shape. That's sometimes what we have to deal with during the year.
You're always trying to do all the things right to prevent those kinds of things. But you can't prevent everything. So, I mean, I would say from sport, every athlete is looking to be in better shape. That's sometimes the bad things that happens.
Q. Do you think there's something about the slipperiness of the grass that has made this particular year worse than usual?
MARIN CILIC: I mean, I just consider my own case. It's more because of obviously much lower bounces, putting more pressure on my body and my knees, as I'm pretty tall. It also has a difficulty on movement. It's a bit tougher to move on grass than other surfaces.
Q. How does this injury affect your schedule? Do you see yourself being out at all because of it?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I have to discuss a little bit with my team what I'm going to do, basically either to take a bit longer period to take care of it or to see, because there are some therapies that are a little bit quicker, some are a little bit longer, just to pick what would be better.
Concerning tournament schedule, my next tournament was supposed to be Umag in end of July.
Q. Best-of-five matches are important to the nature of Grand Slam tennis. Martina Navratilova the other day said it's getting so taxing that the men might someday have to play best two-out-of-three. Do you think there's a chance that could ever occur?
MARIN CILIC: Well, I wouldn't like it to. I would say most of the players would agree on that from the men's tour. Playing on the Grand Slam has to be something special. It is not decided by one hour of great tennis that you have on that day, which can happen two-out-of-three, best out of three-set matches.
Grand Slams have been like that for many, many years. I wouldn't like to see it go best-of-three sets. Everybody would want to see the winner who really deserve to win it.
Q. You haven't detected any difference in this surface here at Wimbledon in the last few days, have you?
MARIN CILIC: No, no, I haven't. I felt just that it's a bit quicker conditions this year than the last year. That's basically it.
Q. That wasn't the reason why?
MARIN CILIC: No, no.
Q. Roger Federer has been remarkably injury-free. Could you talk about that.
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I would say that he's very naturally gifted in many aspects: in speed, agility, flexibility, knowing the game, also knowing what to work on. Especially I would put that as his technique is absolutely flawless. That also, I mean, is making him basically free of the injuries.
Definitely he had really good team around him since he was probably coming to the pro level. That's one of the things that he did really well and showed all the players, even from day one when he came to the tour, that he was there ready with his own team for the best that it's necessary.
It shows during these many years that he was really injury-free except, okay, in this last period with the back something. But that's, I would say, pretty normal with a player, the number of matches he played in his career.
Q. How did you feel at the end of Queen's Club?
MARIN CILIC: Yeah, I felt a bit tired, definitely. But also started with all my matches on Wednesday, also played some doubles.
But obviously felt with my game great, felt that I played very, very good tennis. Won over there against some great players. Also beat Berdych. Played here with my first-round match with Baghdatis. Very, very good match. Was really happy with my form.
Then this makes it even worse for me and tougher to decide to make a decision like this.
Q. Have you had to make that decision before in any tournament?
MARIN CILIC: No, no.
Q. You've never had to stop because of problems, injury?
MARIN CILIC: Hmm, I can't exactly remember. I don't think I did, no.