Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Marin Cilic makes winning return in Paris after reduced doping ban

October 28, 2013 -- Updated 2125 GMT (0525 HKT)
Marin Cilic made a winning return to the ATP Tour after serving a four-month doping ban.
Marin Cilic made a winning return to the ATP Tour after serving a four-month doping ban.
  • Marin Cilic wins on return to ATP Tour after doping ban
  • Court of Arbitration cut his suspension from nine to four months
  • Cilic beats Igor Sijsling in first round of Paris Masters
  • Rafael Nadal playng tournament for first time since 2009

(CNN) -- Marin Cilic made a winning return to the ATP circuit Monday after serving a reduced doping ban.

The 25-year-old Croatian completed a tight three set victory over Dutchman Igor Sijsling at the Paris Masters, prevailing 5-7 6-1 6-4 at Bercy Stadium.

Cilic has slipped to World No.47 after testing positive for the stimulant nikethamide at the Munich Open in May.

He was banned for nine months by an independent tribunal in September, but his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport saw his suspension cut to four months last Friday.

Federer: Do more drug testing
Rafael Nadal's triumphant comeback
Djokovic finishes season on top

The decision allowed Cilic to enter the final regular season tournament on the main tour in the French capital and he took full advantage.

Despite losing the first set, Cilic earned a second round match against in form World No.5 Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina.

He later admitted that he was pleased to put the experience behind him and return to action.

"I would definitely say it was the worst time of my life as a player," he told AFP.

"I have been on the tour for six, seven years, and have been always really careful and really honest and fair as much as I could with all the other players.

"And then to be in that kind of situation where when I found out about the positive test it was an extremely difficult situation where people were even calling me a doping player and a cheat.

"I knew I didn't cheat," added Cilic.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal, who is playing in Paris for the first time in four years, told gathered reporters that he was delighted to see Cilic return to action.

"One thing I can say is I'm happy to see Marin back on tour. He's a good guy and a great player," he told AFP.

"I don't know what happened but if he's back, it's because it's fair that he's back. That's all. I'm happy for that."

Read: Cilic to return early after CAS ruling

Nadal will open his campaign later in week but the early headlines will surround players attempting to book their passages to the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Roger Federer, Swiss colleague Stanislas Wawrinka and French duo Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are battling for the final three places in the elite eight-man field, with four others having mathematical chances of qualifying.

Wawrinka learned his second round opponent in Paris as Spaniard Feliciano Lopez won a tight encounter against Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-7 7-6 Monday.

Federer, who needs one win to clinch a 12th consecutive appearance in the finals, will face the winner of the first round match between Kevin Anderson and Mikhail Zouzhny, while Gasquet and Tsonga could meet in the third round of their home event.

World No.2 Novak Djokovic claimed the ATP finale last season, beating Federer in the final, while Nadal has never claimed the title.

The Spaniard hopes to use a good performance in Paris as a springboard to success in London.

"The last tournament of the year is important," he told the official ATP Tour website.

"In 2010 I played well (lost in the final to Federer); the rest I played really bad. I want to try to change that.

"I was always motivated for this last part of the season, but I was not able to apply it well. I hope this year I can change that situation. I hope to play well here and then we'll see."

Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.