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“I was just believing that I can win the next match. That’s what I did for five days in a row” – Cincinnati champion Coric
Borna Coric became the lowest-ranked player to win an ATP Masters Series title on Sunday. The Croatian says he always believed in himself even as he took things one match at a time during his magical run this week
It’s been a long winding road back to the winner’s circle for Croatia’s Borna Coric. The former world No 12 underwent shoulder surgery last year and had to sit on the sidelines for a year away from the sport.
On Sunday, he captured the biggest title of his career by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 6-2 to win the Cincinnati Masters and jumped back inside the world’s top 30. The 25-year-old Coric later explained that he knew he was capable of playing at such a high level of tennis but was taking things one match at a time in Cincinnati.
“No (I did not surprise myself this week). I believe always in myself. But again, to win the tournament when last week I was really playing poorly. Also, I was playing great last week, but still my level was not there. I didn’t believe I’m gonna win the tournament. I was not really focused on (that). I have no words, to be honest. It’s just unbelievable feeling. Like I said many times, I just gonna enjoy this. I’m just super happy, obviously,” Coric said.
“I never look too much forward. Obviously sometimes I know (who I play next), because when I was in the semifinals, obviously I know who I’m gonna play in the final, because it’s not many matches. You just hear it. But in the first couple of rounds, I’m not really focused on the next round. I’m always focused on the round which I’m playing right now. I was just believing that I can win the next match. That’s what I did for five days in a row (smiling),” the Croatian continued.
I need to rest for couple of days. I need to recover and, you know, just get ready for the US OpenBorna Coric
Cincinnati is the third singles title for Coric in his career after Marrakech (clay) and Halle (2018). And Coric says he remained focused throughout the tournament on his upcoming matches even after his big win over Rafael Nadal earlier in the week, something that he has consciously worked upon from his younger days when he would go into ‘holiday mode’ after a big win.
“I’ve played on the tour for a long time already, and I know that in the tournament I cannot take much days off in my head in terms of I’m going to enjoy this win now for two days and I’m going to be relaxed and everything is good, I’m happy. I cannot do it anymore. I can do it now, because for the next seven days I don’t have the tournament. But in the middle of the tournament, when I won Rafa, obviously I was super happy. It was great. But again, I knew I need to play against unbelievable player the next day for less than, I think, 15 hours I was playing. So I knew I need to stay calm. I need to do my recovery and to stay fresh, basically, because that’s the most important. And I think that’s what I did. But I think I kind of learned that on the hard way, because I was doing those mistakes when I was younger where I would beat some good players, and then, I would just go in the holiday mode (smiling),” the former world No 1 junior said.
Coric was ranked No 152 in the world at the start of the tournament, which makes him the lowest-ranked player ever to win an ATP Masters 1000 Series title. But he is now assured of a seeding at next week’s US Open after climbing to No 29 in the world on Monday.
The Croatian says he will rest for a few days and recover from the week before beginning his preparations for the US Open , the venue of his lone Grand Slam quarter-final which came two years ago. Incidentally, he also beat Tsitsipas during that run to the last eight in New York.
“I will go for dinner tonight. Celebrate a little bit. Nothing big, nothing fancy. Again, it’s been very stressful for my body this whole week. I came into the tournament with many, many sessions, as well, which I don’t usually do. So I already had some low before the tournament. I played five matches now in a row. So I need to rest for couple of days. I need to recover and, you know, just get ready for the US Open, basically.”