London - Marin Cilic insists he is primed to make a strong
run for the Wimbledon title despite the frustration of his Queen's Club final
defeat against Feliciano Lopez.
Cilic was denied a second Queen's crown in agonising fashion
on Sunday as the world number seven failed to convert a match point in the
final set tie-break before losing 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (10/8).
Lifting the trophy at the Wimbledon warm-up event would have
been perfect preparation for the Croatian ahead of the grass-court Grand Slam,
which starts on 3 July.
But Cilic is confident the dominant form he showed for the
rest of the tournament will stand him in good stead at Wimbledon, where the
former US Open champion has lost in the quarterfinals three years in a row.
"I'm playing really well. Definitely, I'm going to get
to Wimbledon with good determination, good confidence," Cilic said.
"I've worked a lot to get to this level. I'm looking
forward to the tournament. Definitely hoping that I can go further than the
last three years.
"I played a lot of matches on grass. Played
high-quality tennis. It's also a matter of executing things well on the court.
That's where my focus is going to be."
With Wimbledon champion Andy Murray crashing out of Queen's
in the first round, a result that continued the world number one's
disappointing 2017, and Novak Djokovic in equally poor form, Cilic acknowledged
there is good opportunity for someone outside the big four to take the trophy.
Roger Federer will arrive as tournament favourite after
maintaining his superb run by winning the Halle title on Sunday, but French
Open champion Rafael Nadal hasn't thrived at Wimbledon for several years.
"All the other guys at the top didn't perform too well,
and definitely that opens up a gap," Cilic said.
"Roger didn't play much, so it's tough to know his
form. You know, just looking at the results he has on grass, it's obvious that
you have to put him up there.
"To say that he's No 1 favourite, it could be true but
also could not be.
"Definitely he's going to be playing really well, and
he's feeling at home in Wimbledon."
Regardless of the form of his rivals, Cilic can be confident
of making some waves at Wimbledon if he serves with the accuracy and power he
showed at Queen's.
Even Lopez couldn't break him and Cilic said: "Looking
on the whole week, it was great tennis for me.
"I have to say maybe one of the best grass-court
tournaments for me overall throughout my career, looking at the consistency of
"I lost my serve only once during whole week, which is
Lopez, ranked 32nd, has now reached back to back grass-court
finals after following his defeat in Stuttgart with victory in west London.
As well as Cilic, the 35-year-old beat Stan Wawrinka, Tomas
Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov en route to becoming the oldest Queen's champion in
the Open era.
He has never gone further than the Wimbledon quarter-finals
and would love to improve on that this year.
"I think beating four top 10 players in the same week,
this is pretty amazing," Lopez said.
"It is true that I'm going into Wimbledon with a lot of
"But next week, the draw has to be done and then I hope
I can still play in the same way."