Marin Cilic has had quite the tennis career. The Croatian has earned over $18 million over his career with 17 titles.
Marin has made deep runs in several Gran Slams including winning the 2014 U.S. Open. In addition to his talent, Marin’s success has been helped by the support he has received from his family.
His mother, Koviljka, and father, Zdenko, made sure Marin was able to focus on tennis at a young age. Marin has three brothers: Vinko, Goran and Mile. His girlfriend, Kristina Milkovic, is also like family to Marin.
Get to know the Cilic family.
1. Marin Cilic Is Originally From Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina
According to the ATP, Marin was born in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He currently lives in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Marin was a teenager when he started to realize tennis could be worth pursuing. With limited training options, Marin decided to move to a bigger city for training purposes.
“Probably around 14, when I was finishing primary school [Marin recognized his tennis ability],” Marin told Sports Illustrated. “I’m coming from a pretty small city in Croatia, not too many options to train, not too many players. So I had to either choose to stay at home to do more school or move to Zagreb to the national training center. That was when I made decisions to do something better in tennis.”
2. He Moved in With His Godfather & Godmother to Attend a Tennis Training Center
At 14, Marin moved from Medjugorje to Zagreb for better training opportunities. He stayed with his godparents while taking part in the training center. Marin reflected on this difficult decision in an interview with the ATP Tour.
“Although the city was close, I had to live with my godfather and his wife away from my family by the time I finished primary school, aged 14,” Marin told the ATP. “It was a sensitive age so they were the biggest help for me as I felt I was at home. It wasn’t easy to live without my parents at that age but I learned some good things for life. If I would have stayed alone somewhere, I would have had a much tougher time to move up.”
Just three months after the move Marin was the second ranked 14 and under player in Europe.
3. Marin Started Playing Tennis With His Older Brother, Vinko
Marin grew up in a big family with three brothers. He credits his older brother, Vinko, for learning how to play tennis. He explained his introduction to tennis on his website.
I started tennis with my older brother Vinko when our father brought us to a tennis club. Vinko was already too old to start to play tennis at 12, but I was at proper age to start. I had also a very good friend of mine playing tennis, who is Ivan Dodig’s younger brother. First tournaments started when I was 8. I won my first trophy at 8, making it to semi-final, on the tournament 10&U and I still have it at home, probably one of my favorite trophies.
Marin gained confidence as legendary player Goran Ivanisevic saw his talent at a young age and pegged him as a future top ten player.
“It was a huge honor to practice with Goran as he was a top player at that time and a national hero,” Marin told the ATP. “His influence helped me realize how hard I needed to work. As a result, six months later, tennis became the No. 1 priority in my life.”
4. Marin’s Dad, Zdenko, Ran a Local Business & His Mother, Koviljka, Worked at a Bank
Marin’s father, Zdenko, came from humble beginnings. According to the ATP, Zdenko’s parents had wine vineyards and grew tobacco. This caused Zdenko to not have some of the time and luxuries he wanted for his family.
“My father was determined that my older brothers, Vinko, Goran, and I would get the opportunity to play sport, as he did not get any opportunities growing up,” Marin told ATP. “The town had no tennis tradition prior to 1991, when the first tennis court was built. My friends and I were among the first to play on it.”
Marin’s mom, Koviljka, worked at a bank while his father ran a business. Despite the outbreak of war for several years as their children grew up, the couple was able to build a good life for their family, which ultimately impacted Marin’s ability to focus on tennis.
5. He Has Been in a Long-Term Relationship With Kristina Milkovic
In addition to his family, Marin receives support from his long-term girlfriend, Kristina. The couple has dated seven years. Kristina tries her best to stay out of the public eye. She is responsible for recruiting new employees for one of Croatia’s largest banks.
Aside from her LinkedIn page, Kristinia’s social media accounts all remain private. Kristina has earned two Master’s Degrees: psychology and political science.