Marin Cilic has heaped praise on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for their ability to adapt to situations and pull through when the time demands. The world number six was among three players to make the finals of any of the grand slams in 2017 apart from the duo, eventually losing to the Swiss ace in the finals of Wimbledon.
Both Federer and Nadal came back from a tumultuous 2016 where they missed major parts of the season through injury. In 2017 they scripted a memorable comeback as Federer and Nadal claimed two Slams each to end the year as the two top-ranked players of the season.
Both players had a brilliant campaign where Nadal won the French Open and the US Open, while the Swiss ace took his tally to 19 with the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
The duo will be looking to scale the same heights again in 2018, with both players expected to be back for the Australian Open which starts on 15 January. Nadal is an early doubt for Melbourne after pulling out of the Brisbane international with a knee problem along with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who have also not featured in the tournaments leading up to the Slam.
Cilic believes the reason to their success over the years, despite age and injury setbacks, is their ability to change their game to suit their physical condition, yet play on a very high level.
"What you can learn from them is passion for the game and the passion to compete. Every single time they step on the court, they are extremely ready, they are not taking losses very easily," Cilic said on the sidelines of Tata Open Maharashtra, as quoted by the Times of India.
"Other things apart from their individual potential is their ability to adapt, specially Rafa. Over the years, we have seen so many changes in his technique. From serve to forehand to now just adapting to different style from being little bit more aggressive.
"Even last year he improved his second serve, added some speed. Even Roger over the years was improving his backhand, not playing much more slices, playing more aggressive tennis.
"They are able to adapt but still play at a high level. What makes them so good is their overall ability and their extremely good understanding of the game," the six feet six inch Croat explained.