Marin Cilic perform one of the most impressive performances of this Roland Garros on Monday when he fired the second seed Daniel Medvedev in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals. The Croatian will play andréi rublev for a spot in the last four at the clay court major.
Cilic recently spoke to ATPTour.com about his culinary skills, guilty pleasures, his nutritional routine on match day, the food he hasn’t eaten in 10 years and more.
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Let’s say you have to cook tonight, either for yourself or for your friends. What would you cook and why?
I would cook leg of veal. I love that more and in Croatia it’s amazing. Mix it with potatoes and vegetables in a nice sauce and it will melt on your fingers. Just have a normal sauce coming out of the meat. Leave the meat for a few hours, it’s great.
How would you rate your culinary skills?
I’d say I’m a good cook for what I need to eat and that’s it! Eggs, crepes, pasta, rice and chicken. Carbs and protein and that’s it.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I like a hamburger here and there. When I come to the United States, the first meal is always a hamburger. So if I’m at a nice restaurant where I know the burgers are really good, that’s a cheat meal. For [something] sweet, I love pancakes. It is not easy to find the authentic crepes with Nutella and when I go back home I have them.
What is your favorite meal the night before a game?
I would load up on carbs and eat some protein. That’s always chicken or turkey. it is a little faster [to cook] than red meat and has a little less fat. Before a game in Italy I like pasta with tomato sauce and a little chicken, 150 grams more or less, so I have a little protein and I don’t get too hungry. Then, if the match in front of me drags on, I’ll have another plate of pasta.
That’s Italy, it’s pasta. All other tournaments are mostly rice. They don’t do pasta too, so I prefer rice elsewhere.
What do you eat just before a game and how many hours before the game do you eat it?
I usually eat an hour and a half to an hour and 15 minutes earlier so I can eat a good meal. If the match drags on, I could eat a banana or top up the main [meal] a little.
What snacks during a match? Has that changed over the years, and if so, what did you eat before?
I have a pretty simple routine. Just drinking my electrolytes and taking a carb gel and then eating a banana. I am a simple boy, nothing extravagant.
What could you eat during a non-tournament week that you wouldn’t eat during a tournament?
When I’m at home I relax because I get fed up eating the same thing all the time. The worst thing about being a tennis player is when you have to eat and you’re not ready to eat. For example, let’s say your match is at 12pm, you eat breakfast and then you warm up and then you need to eat before the match, like pasta or rice at 10:30am. It’s one of the hardest things about being on Tour.
I try to watch my carb and protein intake, but sometimes I just forget about it. When I get home I want to eat pizza or something simple. At night, I could eat three eggs with a little cheese and ham, something simple. Also a yogurt. It’s not easy to eat big meals all the time.
If you go to one of your favorite restaurants, what would you order?
I like a good steak. There’s an Italian restaurant back home and they make huge portions and they know my stuff. Mixed rice with vegetables and carrots and chicken.
What is something that people might be surprised to hear you enjoy?
This year in Australia when we were there we ordered Indian food about 10 times. Butter chicken and chicken biryani, and I enjoyed it.
When I got home I said to my wife ‘Okay, we need to find a recipe for butter chicken,’ and she did and it was fantastic. So this year I have eaten quite a lot of Indian food.
What is the best food in your culture/country?
Because Croatia is diverse, we have a lot. The Mediterranean is a bit similar to Italy. So the mainland is a bit heavier. Then we have barbecue food and ground beef and food like this. It is quite a heavy meal.
What are the foods you refuse to eat?
This junk food, I really don’t like to eat it often. I haven’t eaten anything fried in over 10 years. Nothing fried. When I see it, I’m like ‘No’.