BY ABAYOMI JOHNSON
Marin Cilic has expressed sympathy for Rafael Nadal after the world number one retired from their Australian Open quarter-final match with an injured leg on Tuesday.
Cilic, who was leading 3-6 6-3 6-7 6-2 2-0 before the injury set in spoke to the tournament’s website after being handed semi-final clash with Kyle Edmund.
He said: “In the end very unfortunate because Rafa is always fighting really hard, always giving the best on the court. I guess in the pre-season he had some troubles with the injuries, but he came here prepared really, really well. He played a very good tournament. Obviously very sad for him to finish the way he did.
“Yeah, I realized( something was wrong with him) only when he took a medical timeout. It was at 4-1 in the fourth. But I happen to be not often but sometimes in these occasions where player gets hurt a bit, so you’re not exactly sure what his possibilities are, how he is going to come up.
“I just tried to stay in my own box and continue with playing well, continue with that intensity. I had Love-40 that game, 4-1, didn’t break. It was Love-15 straightaway, and that little bit of exchange at the net where I played a dropshot. That was maybe one of the most critical points in that fourth set. I kept with my own game, with the plan. Obviously it paid up.
“Extremely pleased with my own game. Even in these other matches before this one, I played great tennis. Very, very high level. Had a tough match against Carreno Busta in the last round. Then today, beginning of the match was not the best. I made some unforced errors in some moments. 4-3 serving with new balls, lost that set 6-3. I was a break down in the second.
“I was always in that process where I want to keep going with my own game and try to lift up, lift up, keep pushing as much as I can. So extremely pleased with the performance.
“For me, I’m going to prepare for that match like for any other one. Kyle had amazing run here. A lot of tough matches, played great tennis. He’s also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts.
“For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.
“For me a big focus is to continue with my own game. I cannot influence him much across the net, but going to try to take care of my things on my part of the court. Hopefully I’m going to have another great match.”