Borna Coric upset Rafael Nadal at the start of the Cincinnati Open and then went on to complete his comeback run by grabbing his first Masters 1000 title by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final on Sunday.
On his way to the crown, Coric first beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round before scoring his third career win (going one up in the head-to-head) against Nadal. Not wilting amid the pressure of following up that huge victory, he took another 'W' against Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round, then beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarters and Cameron Norrie in the semifinals.
Asked about his thoughts on winning match after match in the tournament, including one against Nadal, Coric recognized how great he felt about beating the 22-time Grand Slam champion, but knew the task was not yet finished there.
"In the middle of the tournament, when I won [against] Rafa (Nadal), obviously, I was super happy. It was great. But again, I knew I need to play against [an] unbelievable player the next day for, less than, I think, 15 hours. 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," said Borna Coric during his post-match press conference.
The 25-year-old Croat elaborated that he could not relax after a victory for long, unlike before – a lesson he learned the hard way.
"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, you know, 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," he said.
"I think I kind of learned that 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 on holiday mode," he added.
Also Checkout:- Cincinnati Open 2022 Results
"I was just believing that I can win the next match, That's what I did for five days in a row" - Borna Coric
Borna Coric lifting the Cincinnati Open trophy was not what most would have envisioned, given his 152nd ranking, and with Rafael Nadal and reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev leading the field.
But Coric overcame the odds, including beating Nadal, en route to winning his third career title. He dropped just a set – against Nadal – the entire week.
Coric underwent shoulder surgery in May 2021 before returning to action in Indian Wells last March. He even had to play in five Challenger-level events thereafter as he worked his way back to form. The Croat was 4-8 this season prior to his stint at the Cincinnati Open.
Coric, who jumped to as high as No. 29 in the live rankings, said that he just believed that he could win his next match – a mentality he held on to for five days in a row.
"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," Coric said.