An Interview with Organizer Feliks Lukas Ahead of 4th WTA Croatia Bol Open

Daniela Rogulj


June 3, 2019 – First class tennis returns to Brač with the 4th edition of the WTA Croatia Bol Open, which will run from June 3 to 9, 2019. Before Bol fully transforms into a haven for some of the world’s best up and coming female tennis players, TCN met with organizer Feliks Lukas about what we can expect at this year’s edition. 

We return to Bol this year for the 4th edition of the WTA Croatia Bol Open. What can we expect this year?

We try really hard every year to organize the tournament and make it better than it was in the previous year. This year I’m absolutely satisfied, because in sports terms, we have the best list of players to date, and as far as entertainment goes, we secured performances by big stars, so that our visitors can experience the perfect combination of the sun, sea, top-level tennis and entertainment when they come to the WTA Croatia Bol Open. 

How is this year’s tournament different than the last editions?

Like I said, the list of the players is the best yet, and we’re very proud of that. The WTA Croatia Bol Open is becoming a matter of prestige; the players themselves are doing excellent marketing for us when talking to one another, they share their positive experiences from Bol and they want to participate in the tournament, and Bol is often a springboard for the girls who are working on getting into the Top 100 in the world. A lot of effort goes into organizing this tournament, and I’m extremely glad we managed to build an excellent image in the tennis world. 

As the biggest novelty for this year, I’d like to highlight that we’ll start having nighttime matches, which will attract more viewers because it was often impossible to follow the matches in the strong June sun. Matches on the day of the first round will be played at 8:30 pm on the Central Court and Sunday’s finale will start at 8:05 pm. 

You started the WTA Croatia Bol Open thanks to your passion for tennis and will to make something successful in a place like Croatia where so much seems impossible and is often an uphill battle. How has the tournament developed over the years? Are you happy with where it is now, or are you striving for more?

I don’t believe it’s easy to organize any sporting event, and especially an event of this scale, with all the rules and bylaws that the worldwide organization such as the WTA expects us to follow. The additional organizational challenge is the demanding process of negotiating with government institutions and advertisers. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have the support we need, I have to say that the Bol municipality, Croatian Tourist Board and Central State Office for Sport have recognized this project as an important sport, but also tourist event in Croatia. We also have numerous corporate sponsors, but it’s still difficult to complete the financial package. It’s a struggle that lasts all the way to April, sometimes even May, so we only have a month to organize the tournament, which is not enough time. Still, our tournament gets better each year, and I’m not giving up. I am still lead by a lot of enthusiasm, and the biggest motive for me are the positive experiences, first by the players, but also by the visitors. 


Once again, you’ve managed an impressive list of players for the 4th edition. Who is the most exciting up-and-coming talent to play in Bol this June?

Although she is not seeded, a serious contender for the title is Timea Bacsinszky. She was a top-ten player several years ago, but an injury stopped her and now she’s making a come-back. I’d love to highlight Kaia Kanepi and Siegemund, who used to be top 15 and top 30 players. All three of the winners of the WTA Croatia Bol Open – Mandy Minella, Aleksandra Krunić and Tamara Zidanšek are also going to be at the tournament this year. 

Which of Croatia’s tennis representatives should we look out for on the courts in Bol this June?   

One of the aggravating factors for us is most certainly the week in which the tournament is played, which overlaps with the second week of Roland Garros, and no matter what, we always want our players to stay on the courts in Paris for as long as possible. This year we invited Tena Lukas, after she took full advantage of her invitation last year when she made it to the semi-finals with amazing support from the stands. Jana Fett, a very promising player who has the strength and quality required for a much better ranking than the one she has now.

 You’ve once again managed to couple excellent entertainment with tennis – can you tell us about the events we can look forward to in addition to the tennis this time around?  

Entertainment starts on Friday, June 7th, when our visitors will be able to enjoy the evening of klapa music, a concert by Klapa Šufit and Cambi. On June 8th, the star of the Saturday night in Bol will be Niki Belucci, who is performing at the Varadero Club. The finale of the tournament on Sunday starts at 8:05 pm and the fun at the Central Court will start an hour earlier when Nina Badrić will perform live for the WTA Croatia Bol Open crowd. The closing ceremony of the tournament will also be more lavish, as Lola Astanova, one of the world’s best pianists will perform. She has intrigued the world, both with her talent and her attractive appearance. 

How has the support for the tournament been this year? From Bol and Bluesun to HTZ and sponsors?  

I am extremely grateful to all our sponsors for their support. I’d especially like to highlight the Bol Municipality and its head, Tihomir Marinović, as well as the Bol Tourist Board who have been alongside us this entire time. Also, without the great support by the Bluesun group and Mr. Jako Andabaka, this tournament would not be possible. This year we received strong support by Central State Office for Sport, and, just like in previous years, Croatian Tourist Board. There are several sponsors from the business sector, Kraš, Atlantic Group, Jadrolinija, T-HT, HEP – and I’d like to thank all of them. The tournament keeps growing every year, but we need to make the next step in terms of finances and sponsors, as that would increase the quality of the tournament in the end. We still don’t have the title sponsor, which would allow for a bigger sense of security. 

So, can we expect the ‘25th edition’ of WTA Croatia Bol Open in the future? Or do you have plans to create other successful sporting events on the horizon?  

We will keep up our efforts to make this the strongest regional sports event, and there are realistic chances that we’ll be able to get the tournament to a higher level. WTA is prepared to support us as much as possible, so all we need to do is find strong sponsors who would also support us in that effort. 


For tickets to the WTA Croatia Bol Open, visit here

To learn more about Feliks Lukas, you can check out our interview with him last year ahead of the 3rd edition of the tournament. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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