After reaching the Australian Open final in 2018, Marin Cilic had become world no. 3 and had some big plans on his agenda, dreaming about taking the ATP throne and lifting Grand Slam titles. Instead of that, the rest of the year was not that good, saving a match point in the final of Queen's against Novak Djokovic but staying on that single title, delivering some solid wins but failing to pass the semi-final round.
Points earned at the US Open, Cincinnati, Roland Garros and Rome propelled Cilic into the ATP Finals in London where he lost two out of three matches, switching focus on Davis Cup final where he delivered wins against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille to help Croatia win the second Davis Cup crown.
The start of 2019 brought some worrying signs for Marin and his fans, withdrawing from Pune with a knee injury and not bringing his best tennis to Melbourne either, losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Roberto Bautista Agut after three hours and 58 minutes!
Gael Monfils ousted him in the first round of Dubai a month later with a bagel in the third set and Marin decided to skip Indian Wells and return in Miami. There, the Croat suffered another early exit when Andrey Rublev took him down 6-4, 6-4, creating no less than 22 break points in a clear indicator of Marin's current abilities.
Dropping out from the top-10 in March for the first time since October 2016, Marin made a shaky transition to clay as well, bowing out from the Monte Carlo draw already after the second round following a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 loss to Guido Pella, staying on just four wins from five ATP tournaments in 2019.
Determined to find the form again before the remaining clay court Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome, Marin has decided to take ATP 250 Budapest wild card, making a debut at this event and joining Borna Coric to form the Croatian duo of top seeds.
This is the third edition of Budapest Open and the organizers are delighted to have a former Grand Slam champion in the draw, rounding-up three top-20 stars in the field and hoping to see more crowd in the stands after the latest news.