Marin Cilic: Increase in prize money has narrowed gap in men’s tennis

ATP Tour
A smiling Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic believes the gap between the top players and those lower down the rankings is getting closer, and it’s mostly down to the increase in prize money.

Although the Big Three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic continue to dominate the Grand Slams having shared the last nine major titles between, the rest of the pack has managed to upstage them in other tournaments.

Cilic, who won the 2014 US Open, says money has lot to do with it.

“The matches are getting closer on the men’s Tour. Anybody can win any round,” he told Gulfnews.com. “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. The tournaments are quite similar in that perspective, so the players are also improving and working on their game.

He added: “I think a great part in last several years was the increase of the prize money in general terms. That helped the lower ranked players to increase their support team to have bigger support from the people on the side — coaches, physios, fitness coaches. I think everyone is playing better and the game has evolved. If you are not 100 per cent, you can easily go out of the tournament.”

Cilic is taking part in this week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships where is ranked third behind Kei Nishikori and Roger Federer.

And he has been given a tough opener against the in-form Gael Monfils, who recently won the Rotterdam Open.

“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,” the Croatian said. “Anyway, it’s going to be a tough match and a tough challenge. I haven’t beaten Gael so far.

“On the other side, I’m coming back from an injury and 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. I have to be on top while just trying to play the best I can.”


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