Cilic confident going into Australian Open final

It is the most rhetorical question in sport: who would you rather play in a grand slam final? Roger Federer, possibly the greatest tennis player ever, or the man whose own country is not sure what sport he plays?

It's the choice between playing the G.O.A.T - as Federer has come to be nicknamed - and... Hyeon Chung.

That said, other than Rafael Nadal on clay, Federer would be the least preferred opponent for anyone in any tournament so that is no disrespect to Chung.

After beating Kyle Edmund in straight sets on Thursday night, Marin Cilic will play one of them. He played Federer in Wimbledon last year and that literally ended in tears when injury limited him.

Cilic smiled when asked which of the two he would prefer to play next.

"I like to play against the player that I would beat in the final," he said smiling.

He was cajoled by the Italian journalist to "talk to us like you would talk to our brother".

"I would talk to my brother the same," Cilic laughed. He then extolled the virtues of both players at length and concluded: "No answer again for you but I am going to focus on myself."

We know the answer, the journalist replied.

"I didn't say anything," Cilic protested.

Sometimes you don't have to. It's rhetorical.

Cilic was in a playful mood after his win. He was asked what weaknesses he had 12 months ago that he has improved on. He interrupted channelling his best Goran Ivani??evi??: "I have no weakness."

After Wimbledon six months ago, Cilic feels better prepared.

"I am feeling really, really good physically even though I had a few matches that went more than three hours overall I feel great," he said.

"I think I improved compared to the end of last year, I am playing much, much more aggressive. I am feeling for most shots I am hitting them really, really good. Everything is in [a] good solid spot.

"In tennis in general if you are not improving you are getting worse s a player because everyone else is improving the game is improving.

"I did good analysis of the last season, found some things [that] can improve my game, some small details in the game I focused on and these have worked nicely at the start of this year."

The final, especially should it be against Federer, will not be about atoning for what occurred at Wimbledon, Cilic said.

"I am not looking at it as revenge. It was on me that I couldn't give my best in Wimbledon and that happens even with Rafa towards the end of the match and today with Kyle - he had a small injury or fatigue towards the end of the match - those things happen.

"For me it's great to again be in the final, I give myself another opportunity to win a grand slam, I am playing really good tennis.

"I think overall consistently, I am playing better, I am performing better when you look at match after match. At the US Open it was amazing tennis that I played but it was more difficult for me to keep it [up] for [a] long period of time. Now I feel this kind of tennis I can keep it.

"I have had two experiences in a final. I had one amazing experience in a final [the US Open] and one not so amazing [Wimbledon], so I had both one emotionally great and one not so great. I think it is going to help me stay focused on what I have to do.

"It's big motivation for me to play that final and obviously to win and I am feeling good with my game. Hopefully I can have a great match."

This story Cilic confident going into Australian Open final first appeared on The Age.