ATP Challenger Split Open 3rd Edition Begins on April 12!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Veljko Martinović
Veljko Martinović

Tournament director Ismar Moralić said that this week’s tournament, which is still in progress, is going great, and he also revealed that three invitations for the main tournament go to Croatian tennis players Borna Gojo, Duje Ajduković, and Nino Serdarušić.

“The first tournament is taking place in a nice atmosphere so far. It is disturbed only by bad weather and low temperatures that we struggle with every day. We are bravely going to the second week,” said Moralić, expressing satisfaction that all the players, their entourage, and the tournament staff are negative for Covid-19.

“This is actually a key thing because only one infected person can knock down an entire tournament like a domino. Tests are according to the ATP protocol every Wednesday, and I hope that next week we will all be negative.”


Veljko Martinović

Like this week, Duje Ajduković and Nino Serdarušić will receive two invitations for the main tournament. The third will be given to Borna Gojo, who skipped the first tournament due to a back injury.

“Borna worked hard, went through therapy, and we believe that he will achieve a good result in the next tournament, just like Duje and Nino. Duje returned in an incredible match against Brown, and Nino defeated Clarke in conditions that were more similar to polar ones, and that certainly took away a lot of his strength for the next match,” said Moralić.

The list of players will remain similar to this week.

“The ‘cut’ for the main tournament is 202nd place, and for the qualifications 220th, so even a little lower than this week. We hope for a slightly better weather forecast,” Moralić added.

Borna Gojo, who was also at the press conference, spook about his back problems.

“It started in Australia when I was quarantined for 14 days. The day after I went out, I played with Popyrin and carried those problems ever since. It’s taking a while. I expect to win every tournament, so do Duje and Nino.”

Unfortunately, there will be no audience in the stands next week either.

“The audience will be missed a lot. I wouldn’t be the first to play in the semifinals last year if it weren’t for the audience. They pushed Duje and me. Home is always a special feeling. From what I hear from other tennis players, the impressions are positive. They are satisfied with the club, organization, and accommodation,” said Gojo.


Veljko Martinović

Ajduković, on the other hand, hopes for a better result than this week when he was eliminated in the second round. However, he’s happy to be playing at all, given that he recently got over the coronavirus.

“My fight and effort brought me back to the match against Brown, and against Role, I chose the wrong tactics, and after that, it was difficult to come back. I had COVID-19, because of which I spent ten days in isolation in Zadar, and now it is not easy to regain my old form. I didn’t even know if I would play, so these two matches will help lift my form. I will definitely be better next week,” said Ajduković.

Serdarušić also dropped out in the second round, but that is also a shift compared to last year when he was knocked out in the first round.

“Thanks to the director for the invitation, it’s great that we have three Croatians in the main tournament. For me, this week was positive because I didn’t really play this year. I also went through COVID-219 and quarantine. The situation is certainly not normal because we are quarantined almost every week, we have to get tested, and we don’t know if we will cross the border, but at least we are lucky to be able to play. A lot of players are under stress, and no one is in great shape. It’s great for us that we don’t really have to travel outside the country every week, and now we’re home for two weeks. These conditions on Firule can only be compared to Monte Carlo, in that the terrain is immediately at sea.”

The draw for the qualifiers, singles tournament, and doubles tournament is scheduled for Saturday.

“I hope that we will have at least one Croat in the final. Let Borna, Duje, and Nino agree on who it will be!” concluded Ismar Moralić. 

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