The ATP Challenger Split Open passed its third exam with an excellent grade. This time it was a double edition, the second and third, accompanied by many challenges. But with all the adversity, the organizers succeeded and sent back to the world a beautiful picture of Split, Dalmatia, and Croatia.
“We watched two weeks of top tennis. Everything we could influence, we did properly. The tennis players felt comfortable with us. Our team did a fantastic job, and I can say that this is Roland Garros from Split,” began the director of the tournament, Ismar Moralić, giving his review of the past two weeks in which all seasons changed in the Firule neighborhood of Split. There was snow, rain, strong bura, strong south wind, warm and sunny weather—unique conditions for tennis.
“There was no tennis player to whom these fickle conditions would suit him continuously. It was hard to watch, let alone play.”
Moralić often points out that the tournament is important not only as a sporting event but also as tourism in Split and Split-Dalmatia County. In this context, it coincided that these two editions of the tournament were marked by tennis players from countries from which a large number of tourists come – Slovenia (winner of the first tournament Blaž Rola and finalist Blaž Kavčič) and Poland (Kacper Žuk won singles in the second tournament, and Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski doubles).
“It is a pity that there was no television broadcast, but an ATP stream was popular, especially in Slovenia and Poland. In both countries, the tournament was very well attended. It was a nice promotion of Croatia and Split.”
However, to make the impression complete from the organizers’ perspective, better results of Croatian tennis players were lacking. Last fall, at the premiere edition of the tournament, the local boys Borna Gojo and Duje Ajduković played in the semifinals, but this time none of our representatives reached the quarterfinals. Gojo did not even play due to injury. Duje, who had just recovered from the coronavirus, only passed the first round in the first tournament. Nino Serdarušić was eliminated in the second round both times. There wasn’t much success in the doubles either.
“Gojo got injured a few months ago, Duje overcame corona, and Nino lost to Ymer in a match that could have gone his way. You know what, our players probably missed the audience as well, because they are the ones who give motivation at certain moments of the match. Our policy is to give invitations to our young players, and perhaps some of them are not yet experienced enough for this level. I believe that their results will be better when they mature a little more.”
Moralić added on the topic of empty stands, emphasizing the illogicality of such a decision.
“There are people in churches, casinos, cinemas, theaters, restaurants, and cafes, and it turns out that tennis is the riskiest for people’s health. I don’t know why this is so because we were able to maintain space at the stadium. It hit us organizers and tennis players as well, but unfortunately, we can’t influence those things.”
After the curtain was drawn on the third Split Open, there are smiles, satisfaction, and relief on the faces of the organizers, staff, and volunteers for a job well done, but we are still a little sad that it is over. They are already starting to work on the next edition, an even better and stronger Split Open. The term should remain the same, in the spring.”It is difficult to plan anything in the short term, let alone in the long term because of the coronavirus. However, we will do everything to make the tournament even better. We do it because we want to create a tennis center in Split that will be recognized worldwide. With our partners, we will do everything to make next year’s tournament as top-notch as it was in the past two weeks,” concluded Ismar Moralić, concluding a beautiful two-week tennis story in Split.
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