The 29-year-old Marin Cilic, who fell in five sets against Roger Federer in the final of the Australian Open, says that his opponent is still at the top because he really enjoys the game.
“I would say the passion to compete, season after season, especially at this high level. Then also being able to challenge himself first physically and then mentally, to be at the top almost every single week,” Cilic said. “To work hard and improve, those things we know he's doing really well. We know he has the level. With his game style, it's very all-around.”
Federer now has 20 Grand Slams and has won three of the five majors he has played since an injury sidelined him in 2016.
Cilic is now No. 3, and though still way behind in points, he says that one day, he could grab No. 1.
“My ultimate goal is to reach No. 1. That's my goal,” Cilic said. “That's what I'm working for. Even in these last one or two years, the progress that I did is big. Last year, I improved a lot in different areas. Now in these last couple months, I improved even more. So that gives me big confidence.
"Beating here Rafa [Nadal]—obviously he retired—but it was great match. Then playing with Roger head-to-head, a great match. This is giving me big confidence for going forward. But I know as well, Novak [Djokovic] and Andy [Murray] and many other guys had a tough last season. For me it's a great time that I am continuing to improve. Big time ahead for me.”
The Croat has won a Grand Slam title and reached two finals.