181115 Cilic
Marin Cilic Image Credit: AP

Dubai: If you know tennis, you know the number one rule: only one guy walks away the winner each week on tour. Sure, we all have our small victories: beating a player who gives us problems; stringing together some hard-fought wins; overcoming injuries or illnesses ...

But the ‘Big Win’, the one that happens on Sunday, is the one that really matters. It comes along with the greatest sensation. But, when you don’t reach Sunday and when you don’t have those small victories — well — I want to talk about coming back from those in this edition of On Tour With Marin.

In my first column, I talked about my special feeling as I arrived in London. I talked about past successes and those great British tournaments. While I can report that the tournaments lived up to expectations, my results did not. And that special feeling unfortunately did not continue. I decided not to make any excuses. I put my racquets down for a few days and focused on how I was going to bounce back. Thankfully, I know better than to dwell on these losses and honestly, once I had time to think about it, the next steps became very clear.

That’s right. I went back to Korcula. Nothing can fix the feeling of losing early at Wimbledon, so I decided that I simply needed to get back to work. And there is nowhere better to refocus and re-energise than the Croatian coast.

In mid-July, my team joined me and we worked on finding my form. Maybe my fitness level did not need improving, maybe my strokes were working just fine, but I love the feeling that comes with hard, focused work. So I left it all out there every single day. I went to Korcula with a simple plan — get back on track and get ready for Washington, Montreal, Cincinnati and New York City.

I came back to tour last week in Washington, and I am happy with the matches I played there. In Washington, I did lose. I did not make it to Sunday, but I took steps in the right direction.

In my first tournament since Wimbledon, I came out on top against two great players who are both having solid seasons — Marius Copil and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Not only was I able to win those matches, but I came away from both feeling confident in my level of play and what I was able to do on court, especially in crucial moments.

Next up was Daniil Medvedev. While I did not get the win, I did come away from the match with a lot of positives. I was able to compete at a high level and improve in various areas of my game. I may not have been standing on that podium on Sunday, but my week in D.C. proved to me that the work I put in during my time at home in Croatia is paying off.

I have just won my first two matches in Montreal and am ready to fight hard. The same for Cincinnati and of course the US Open. The biggest titles of my career have come in this swing of tournaments. I won Cincinnati in 2016. I won the US Open in 2014. That was then. What about now?

I am different now, but I still have the same desire and determination to perform at my highest level. As long as I keep putting the work in, I know the results will follow.