"It Feels Fantastic": Marin Cilic Gears Up For Return After 6-Month Hiatus

"It Feels Fantastic": Marin Cilic Gears Up For Return After 6-Month Hiatus

by Nurein Ahmed

Former ATP world number three Marin Cilic will return to action for the first time since January at this week's Croatia Open in Umag.

Cilic has featured in just one match this season, a three-set win over Roberto Carballes Baena in Pune in the opening week of the season. He pulled out from the event altogether before his next outing due to a knee injury. And Cilic, on the advice of doctors, underwent successful knee surgery in January.

The big-hitting Croat spent the last six months on the sidelines recovering. He started light training in March, and was making sporadic progress in his rehabilitation in mid-April, where he shared pictures of himself on a tennis court for the first time since surgery.

He was initially scheduled to return to action on grass at the Rosmalen Championships. But he withdrew before the event citing the need for more time in order to attain peak fitness levels. Cilic has since been spotted hitting the practice courts as he steps up his efforts on a comeback in July.

His first tournament will therefore be on home territory, playing in the 33rd edition of the Umag Open. He won the event back in 2012, but enters this year's tournament looking to accumulate some matches on the court and test the severity of Tour-level competition on his surgically-repaired knee. Nevertheless, Cilic is excited to return.

"It feels fantastic. Really positive feelings after more than six months of being away from the Tour. And to be back here in Umag is always special."

"This is the tournament where I started my ATP career back in 2005 and it's sort of now [come back full circle] to make this comeback very positive."

Cilic's inactivity in the last six months has seen his ranking fall by three digits. It's the first time since 2007 that he is ranked outside the world's Top 100. The 2014 US Open champion will play his first match since January on Monday against Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli.


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