At the first historic tournament held at the Tennis Center in Firule, the winner was Split representative Sven Maretić who initiated the action. Best Croatian wheelchair tennis player Anto Joskić and the young Ante Kolunđija from Dubrovnik also played. Maretić defeated Joskic 7:5, 2:6, 10:8, and Kolundija 6:1, 7:5, while Joskic took second place, beating Kolundija 6:4, 6:1.
But the result was less important in this case. Much more important was the message that wheelchair tennis is also arriving on the sports map of Split, for which Maretić is primarily responsible as the founder of the Tennis Club for Persons with Disabilities Split 2020.
“Thanks to everyone who helped make this story come to life south of Zagreb, and to the organizer for the opportunity. With this event we want to raise awareness in a community that, I must emphasize, is no longer closed as before. If the Split Challenger becomes an ATP 250 series tournament next year, so will we, and the City of Split will be behind us. It is a noble purpose, and the people of Split love tennis and I hope that the wheelchair tennis tournament will become a tradition,” said Maretić, who is praised for the triumph over Joskić, especially since he has only been playing tennis for a year.
“This victory will lift me up, but my ambitions are even bigger.”
For wheelchair tennis, the rules are the same as on the ATP Tour, except that here the ball can fall to the ground twice.
“Yes, all other rules are the same and all players are in the same absolute category, although it would be fairer to divide us by the number of injuries. Wheelchair tennis has long been an integral part of the Grand Slam tournament, and I hope that in the future it will become the standard at the ATP level as well. Umag has been doing this for years,” added Maretić, a guy of indestructible spirit who started wheelchair basketball in his hometown a few years ago.
“The smallest problem is my will and desire to turn it into a sport. We want to create the widest possible range of sports for people with disabilities in Split, so that they can compete and socialize,” concluded Sven Maretić.
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