Split Open Nearly Here, Croatian Tennis Representatives Include Gojo, Ajdukovic, and Serdarusic

Daniela Rogulj

September 25, 2020 – The ATP Challenger Split Open is nearly here! Qualifications begin on Saturday, September 26, in Firule, and two days later, on Monday, September 28, the main tournament will start, which will last until Sunday, October 4.

On this occasion, a press conference was held today at the Cornaro Hotel in Split, where the director of the tournament, Ismar Moralic, revealed the latest information regarding the list of registered players, but also the name of the famous guest who will visit the tournament:

“We are honored to announce that a Viktor Troicki is coming, Damir Dzumhur will train in Split over the next few days, and the absolute legend Mr. Pat Cash is coming in the coaching role. He was last in Split in 1985 and is really looking forward to returning. I think this is great news for the first edition of the tournament.”

Split Open_V. Martic, I. Moralic.jpg

The even better news is that the stands will be open to fans. Admittedly, not at full capacity.

“We have received confirmation from the Croatian Institute of Public Health that the number will be limited to 20 percent of the stand’s capacity. We wish it were more, but we are happy that people will still attend the matches. We will organize the tournament according to the strict measures of ATP and HZJZ,” said Moralic.

The final list of players will be announced later in the day, and the draw for the main tournament is scheduled for Sunday. Some of the registered tennis players are still playing Roland Garros’ qualifiers, so that the list will depend on that.

We are waiting for the negative test results of all tennis players, and only then can we publish the final list. The first player below the line is Tommy Robredo, the former fifth-best player in the world. That speaks enough about the quality of the registered players,” says Moralic.

There will be 32 tennis players in the main tournament, 16 in the qualifiers, and 16 teams in the doubles competition. Three invitations for the main tournament were given to local players Borna Gojo and Duje Ajdukovic from Split and Nino Serdarusic from Zagreb. The coach of the Croatian Davis Cup national team, Vedran Martic, who spoke on behalf of the Croatian Tennis Association as a tournament partner, said:

“I am a child of Firule, and I am happy that the tournament is being held since many are in trouble and canceling them, that’s what Moscow did. We don’t have many tournaments in Croatia at the moment, so this is the right step for us, especially since we mostly only had Futures, which is a higher level. In the main event, all players are between 100th and 200th place in the ATP rankings. There will be good matches, and the audience will enjoy it. Let’s hope the weather serves us.”

Martic pointed out how much the invitations will help Croatian tennis players.

“Gojo and Serdarusic would otherwise have to play qualifiers for a tournament like this, and Ajdukovic would not. Gojo played the Challenger quarterfinals in Romania this week, Duje won Futures last week, Nino is also playing well.”

In addition to the Croatian Tennis Federation, full support for the tournament was given by the “Tennis Club Split 1950” in terms of logistics and workforce. Its president Ivica Kekez believes that this Challenger can and must be the beginning of a much bigger story:

“Next year or in two years, depending on the ambitions of the City of Split and the tournament organizers, we can become an ATP tournament similar to Umag. There is no reason not to. We have the infrastructure that we will further upgrade and make a basic arrangement, we are beautifully positioned, and we have the predisposition to become a small Monte Carlo.”

Split Open_V. Martic, Ismar Moralic, Ivica Kekez.jpg

Director Moralic also revealed that tickets for the main tournament would cost 20 kuna. From the quarterfinal matches starting on Friday, October 2, their price will increase slightly until the final, costing 50 kuna.

“I believe that it is accessible to everyone, and it will guarantee quality tennis,” added Moralic and thanked everyone who made the tournament possible, which was not an easy task in such corona conditions.

“We only received confirmation on August 1 that the season continues. In just seven weeks, we organized the tournament. Thanks to the City of Split, Split-Dalmatia County, the tourist boards of the City of Split and Split-Dalmatia County, TK Split 1950, the Public Institution Sports Facilities… It is no small thing to organize such a large international tournament in such a short time,” concluded Moralic.

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