Back in the Game: Marin Cilic's Hong Kong Open Return Signals Resurgence



by JOVICA ILIC

Back in the Game: Marin Cilic's Hong Kong Open Return Signals Resurgence
© Fran Santiago / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Former Major champion Marin Cilic will kick off the season at the Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open, facing the 5th seed Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round. Marin is ranked outside the top-650 after a terrible 2023 season, playing only two matches and struggling with his right knee.

The Croat injured his knee in Pune at the beginning of the year, missing the Australian Open and undergoing a knee surgery. Marin returned to action in Umag in July, losing in the first round and skipping the rest of the year.

After a suitable rehab, Cilic is ready to compete again, picking Hong Kong as his first stop in 2024. Marin explained his issues with meniscus and cartilage, having to stop right at the beginning of the year. The Croat praised his first rival, Struff, calling him a friend and announcing an entertaining duel for both.

Marin Cilic will make his comeback in Hong Kong.

Cilic will use his Hong Kong experience to test his body ahead of the Australian Open, eager to compete injury-free and improve his ranking. The Croat recalled his good results in Melbourne, playing in the title clash against Roger Federer six years ago and losing after a massive battle.

Marin is motivated and eager to return at his best in the season ahead of us. However, the 35-year-old understands things may go wrong for him, which would be fine after a great career. Cilic feared that the injury would end his career, especially after feeling the pain again following that single match in Umag.

Marin decided not to undertake another surgery, hoping for the best and training well for the last couple of months. The Croat used the break to reflect on his entire career, which has been going on for almost two decades.

Cilic spent quality time with his family and two sons at home in Croatia, experiencing a different life outside tennis and enjoying every minute. Marin's most recent match came in the Umag first round in July, falling to the young Italian Flavio Cobolli 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 51 minutes.

Flavio grabbed the opening set with a single break after an hour. The Italian clinched an early break in the second set and emerged at the top with another at 5-3. Cilic will face Jan-Lennard Struff for the fifth time, with two rivals standing at 2-2.

Marin Cilic Hong Kong Open