LONDON (AP) Even in defeat, Marin Cilic is being talked about as a contender for the Wimbledon title.
The sixth-ranked Croat, who won the U.S. Open in 2014, lost a close three-set match to Feliciano Lopez in the final at Queen's. But there was a still a sense that he was one of the men to beat next week at the All England Club.
''It's interesting that he (Lopez) won a tournament and I'm the favorite,'' Cilic said. ''I'm playing really well, and especially the last few months. For me, I'm keeping my feet on the ground.''
''Definitely I'm going to get into Wimbledon with good determination, good confidence - hoping that I can go further than the last three years.''
The 28-year-old Cilic has never reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, losing in the quarterfinals for the last three years. Novak Djokovic beat him on the way to the title in 2014 and 2015, and Roger Federer rallied from two sets down to oust Cilic last year.
Lopez never once managed to break Cilic's serve on Sunday, and even had to save a match point in the 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (8) victory.
He certainly gives Cilic a chance at Wimbledon.
''For me, he's top three on grass,'' the 35-year-old Spaniard said. ''This year, seeing the other guys, it's a very open Wimbledon. Definitely Marin is one of the contenders. I will say Roger No. 1 and then Marin, Andy (Murray).''
Murray was knocked out in his opening match at Queen's. Djokovic, who has struggled since winning the French Open in 2016, will be playing in Eastbourne this week.
The 35-year-old Federer, though, won his fourth title of the season on Sunday at the Gerry Weber Open, beating Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-3.
Federer skipped the clay-court season, including the French Open. The Australian Open champion will be looking for a record eighth Wimbledon title this year.
''To say that he's No.1 favorite, you know, it could be true but also could not be,'' Cilic said of Federer. ''Definitely he's going to be playing really well, and, you know, he's feeling at home in Wimbledon.''