Cilic hopeful of defending Chennai Open title

Last Updated: Jan 02, 2011, 21:18 PM IST

Chennai: Croatia`s Marin Cilic is hopeful of making a hat-trick of titles at the Chennai Open but is wary of tricky opener against Japan`s talented Kei Nishikori as the season-opening ATP event kicks off here from Monday.

"I`ve enjoyed the last two years here. Winning (the tournament) is the best possible way to start a season," the Croatian told reporters today.

"Every year the field is pretty strong, so I have to see what they (significant players) are trying to do."

Second seeded Cilic, he would approach the match against Nishikori "carefully." The last time the two met, the 21-year old Japanese had stunned the Croatian in five sets at the 2010 US Open.

Calling the match "more of a physical affair" than anything else, Cilic said weather conditions would be similar in Chennai and he would have to watch out.

"He is a very promising player. I have to approach the match carefully," he said.

The tall Croat said after playing in Chennai for two years, he knows what to expect with respect to weather conditions. "I`ve got 3-4 days to adjust. I am doing everything possible to make sure I am ready," he said.

Asked what brings him to Chennai every year, Cilic said, "It`s always been good for me. I don`t want to change my routine. Last year, I had some tough matches to start with and the final with (Stanislas) Wawrinka lasted almost three hours."

Calling Somdev Devvarman "great for Indian tennis," Cilic said, "I`ve practiced with him a couple of times. He`s a promising player and has a lot to offer."

PTI