Marin Cilic believes there is a reason behind why there is so much depth in the men's tennis now. The 30-year-old, speaking in Dubai on Sunday, admitted that the prize money increase helps players in taking care more of their bodies: "I agree completely that even the guys that are ranked today in top 60, top 70, even top 100 are great players.
I think generally when you look at the surface, it's sort of more or less the same throughout the year. So they are used to playing in that kind of surfaces. The tournaments are quite similar in that perspective, so the players are also improving and working on their game.
And I think the great part of the last several years was the increase in the prize money. That helped all the players that are lower ranked to expand their teams to have bigger support from the people on the side: coaches, physios, fitness coaches.
So I think now everyone is playing better and the game has evolved. On the lower levels, it's increasing. And if you are not 100 per cent, if you're missing just one or two per cent, you can easily go out of the tournament."
Analyzing his upcoming first-round match against Gael Monfils, Cilic added: "Definitely a tough draw. Coming here to Dubai, you have to expect that you're going to play tough matches. Obviously, from the first round, I was probably expecting to play somebody not as in the top form as Gael.
Anyway, it's going to be a tough match, a tough challenge. I haven't beaten Gael so far. On the other side, most importantly for me, I'm coming back from an injury, feeling good. That's quite important for me. I hope this stays as long as possible, that I'm going to be injury-free for the rest of the season.
I've been practising well, feeling the ball well, but now it's the time to put that into match play and straightaway from the first point I have to be on the top, just trying to play the best I can. Even sometimes in those occasions starting a tournament like that can be beneficial.
Hopefully, I can go through." Cilic has high goals for the future. In a recent interview, he said he would love to become world No. 1