Monday, 3 June 2019

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

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

Friday, 31 May 2019

Mental Maestro Alberto Castellani to Host Free Seminar at WTA Croatia Bol Open

May 31, 2019 - The WTA Croatia Bol Open will be held from June 3 to 9, 2019.

Roger Federer needed the help of a sports psychologist to find his composure on-court before going on to win 20 Grand Slams. Simona Halep sought help and finally won her first Grand Slam. Andy Murray did the same and became a three-time Grand Slam Champion and world number one. Countless other players like Fabio Fognini, Carla Suarez Navarro, and Dominika Cibulkova have also spoken about the importance of working with professionals to improve their mental game. The United States Tennis Association even created a Sports Psychology division in order to improve player development from a young age. Training the mind in tennis has become as important as physical and technical training.

Join the organizers of the WTA Croatia Bol Open for a tennis mentality coaching session taught by world-renowned tennis coach and president of the Global Professional Tennis Coach Association (GPTCA) and International Sport Mental Coaching Association (ISMCA) Alberto Castellani. Known as the “mental maestro,” Castellani understands the evolving role and importance of quality tennis coaches and mental fitness, and how integral they are to a player’s success at every level of the game.

On Sunday, June 9, 2019, world-renowned tennis coach and president of the Global Professional Tennis Coach Association (GPTCA) and International Sport Mental Coaching Association (ISMCA) Alberto Castellani will host a tennis mentality-coaching seminar as part of the WTA Croatia Bol Open tennis tournament program.

Castellani, known as the “Mental Maestro,” plans to share his knowledge and wisdom of mentality coaching from a lifetime spent working in tennis, with less experienced coaches working with younger or up and coming players. The seminar is organized in partnership with Feliks Lukas, Tournament Director of the WTA 125K Series event in Bol.

Attendance is free. Participants will receive a course certificate of completion from the ISMCA along with a free ticket to the doubles and singles finals taking place on-site following the seminar. To attend the event, contact Tournament Organization, via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can find the full program for the seminar here

About Alberto Castellani

President of the World Organization of Professional Tennis Trainers Alberto Castellani has been a full-time professor at the University of Perugia Faculty of Kinesiology for 15 years where he teaches "Theories and Techniques of Teaching in Individual Sports”. Among other things, Castellani is an international ATP trainer with a diploma in tanning coaching at the State School for the educators in Rome, which operates under the Italian Tennis Federation (ITF) and is a member of the "Professional Tennis Association", the most relevant international organization for professional tennis coaches.

In the last 30 years, he has trained numerous ATP Top 100 players, including: Marc Rosset (career ATP #9), Janko Tipsarevic (career high ATP #8), Ivo Karlovic (career high ATP #14), Hicham Arazi (career high ATP #22), Karim Alami (career high ATP #25), Adrian Voinea (career high: ATP #36), Rainer Schuettler and many others.

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

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Split Express: New Catamaran Line Connecting Split Airport with Split, Hvar, and Brač

Just last week, TCN announced a new catamaran connection between Split Airport and Bol on the island of Brač, but did you know you could travel to Stari Grad on Hvar, too? Meet Split Express.

Namely, from June 1 this year, travelers will be transported between the Split Airport and the islands of Brač (Bol) and Hvar (Stari Grad), and the city of Split with a new fast catamaran line branded as Split Express (, reports HRTurizam on May 24, 2019. 

This new service will significantly shorten the voyage to the islands of Brač and Hvar from the Split Airport concerning the trip so far available with public transport.

This direct connection from Split Airport to the islands via catamaran is years in the making, and it’s safe to say no one is complaining.

"When we first had the chance at the beginning of this year to buy the right catamaran, we decided to launch this unique service," says Alan Klanac, one of the founders of Adriatic Fast Ferries Inc., a shipping company behind

“Opening this line is a remarkable addition to the close opening of the new passenger terminal building at the Split Airport. The ‘new’ airport's increased capacity, coupled with an efficient and fast trip by sea to faraway destinations, will enhance the overall experience for all travelers visiting the area of Split and the islands this year and over the coming years,“ said Klanac.

Bol on the island of Brač will be connected five times a day, while Stari Grad on the island of Hvar and Split town will be connected thanks to the new catamaran line two or three times a day.

Ticket prices range from 199 kuna for the Split - Bol connection, 99 kuna between Split Airport and Split town, and 199 kuna between Split Airport and Stari Grad on Hvar.

For more information, visit Split Express at

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

Thursday, 23 May 2019

List of Players Announced for WTA Croatia Bol Open!

May 23, 2019 - At the Zagreb hotel Palace, a press conference was held with announcements about the upcoming WTA tournament on Bol, including the list of players participating this year. Tournament director Feliks Lukas, mayor of Bol Tihomir Marinković, head of the Sports Development Sector at the Central State Office for Sports Darko Vučić, and Dubravko Šimenc from the Croatian National Tourist Board head office addressed the media, including Croatian Fed Cup representatives Jana Fett, Tena Lukas, and Ana Konjuh.

"Judging by the list of players who announced their participation for the tournament in Bol, this year we are expecting a fierce battle on the tennis courts of the BlueSun tennis center at Zlatni Rat. The first seed is the 55th best player in the world, Daria Gavrilova, who two years ago won the premier title at the New Heaven tournament, and during her career has defeated big names such as Muguruzo, Ostapenko, and Petra Kvitova. Although not a top-seed, a serious candidate for the title is Timea Bacsinszky, a player who was a top 10 tennis player in the world a few years ago. She had great results from 2015 to 2017, when she defeated the world's best players and has won four WTA titles, though an injury halted her career. Now, however, she is back,” Lukas said, adding that Larsson is continually at the top of world tennis, and Kanepi and Siegmund are former top 15 and top 30 players in the world. Bol will also welcome Kristyna Pliskova, her sister Karolina, as well as all three winners of the WTA Croatia Bol Open - Mandy Minella, Aleksandra Krunić and Tamara Zidanšek.

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Otherwise, the interesting story of the press conference was related to Timea Bacsinszky, who a few years ago was the main topic of sports and world media for her so-called "Cinderella story". Namely, from 2011 to 2013, when she gave up on her tennis career, she was employed at a hotel and asked her employer at the time for free days to qualify for Roland Garros. When she finally qualified, her career continued uphill - and the rest is history. 

The mayor of Bol Tihomir Marinković expressed his full support to the project on this occasion, saying that Bol was recognized by excellent sports conditions and thanked the sponsors and everyone who contributed to the WTA Croatia Bol Open this year, inviting everyone to come to Bol as the people of Bol will welcome them warmly. 

"By working with the WTA Croatia Bol Open, I have to admit that the organizers also make a significant contribution in showing new models of functioning sports events, as well as bringing sports closer to the general public. I hope that the program will not only inspire the people of Bol and Brač to get to the games each day, but all the others. I want to emphasize that through our programs, in cooperation with the tournament, we will encourage the youngest to be active in the sport,” said Darko Vučić in front of the Central State Sports Office, wishing luck to the organizers, and especially the tennis players present. 

On behalf of the HTZ headquarters, Dubravko Šimenc pointed out how our tennis players are lucky to have a tennis tournament in Croatia in the fantastic ambiance of Bol.

"In the project ‘Croatian Sports’, the Croatia WTA Bol is important because it is our goal once again to show the beauty of Brač and Bol to the public. The unique beauty of Bol, safety and especially hospitality are appealing to every visitor, and I remind everyone that Bol is not far away, and it is a privilege to be able to support our girls in such an environment,” said Šimenc.

Although she cannot compete in the tournament due to an injury, Ana Konjuh thanked Lukas, who continued to promote women's tennis and women's sports. 

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"It is a special feeling to play in front of the Croatian crowd and it is very important to have a WTA tournament in Croatia, so I would like to thank the companies and sponsors who invest in sports and tennis," Konjuh said.

Jana Fett is also optimistic before the start of the tournament: “Last week I finally came to a victory, and I'm playing well. It will be my first appearance in Bol and I hope to have great games and a great tournament,” she said.

"I expect the best possible placement and that I will reach the final this year," Tena Lukas added, stressing that she was ready to play and could not wait for the tournament to begin.

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With the announcement of Croatian tennis players, we hope at least one Croatian representative makes it to the final.

This year, there will also be evening games in Bol. Thus, first-round games will be played from 20:30 on the Central court, and from 20:05, the Sunday final will be played with a direct transfer to HRT2. The program on the Central court will begin on Sunday night an hour before the final with a concert by Nina Badrić. The closing ceremony will also feature top pianist Lola Astanova, one of the best pianists in the world.

Tickets will also be available online this year at

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

Saturday, 18 May 2019

New Fast Connection from Split Airport to Bol Starting on 1 June

Something new is on the cards for the very beginning of next month in time for the height of the tourist season for those wanting a direct line from Split Airport to Bol on the nearby island of Brač, the third largest island in Croatia.

As Morski writes on the 17th of May, 2019, as of the 1st of June 2019 to the 15th of September 2019, the new fast-freight company Adriatic Fast Ferries d.o.o. will introduce a fast-freight line four times a day from Split Airport to Bol on the central Dalmatian island of Brač. There will be two direct connections and two lines which will head to Bol via Split's busy ferry port.

The direct connection will take one hour from Split Airport to Bol, and the line which will stop at Split's ferry port will take an hour and twenty minutes. There will be three lines in place from Bol to Split per day, according to a report from the local portal Bol info.

Unlike for other ferries and connections, tickets for this new line can only be purchased online at the ship's website.

The catamaran for this line was built back in 1999 at the FBM Marine Ltd shipyard and was purchased from the English company Red Jet. The catamaran is 33 metres long and has a capacity of 190 passengers.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages for much more.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Croatia Bol Open Returns to Brač this June!

May 17, 2019 - In anticipation of the list of players to be released next week, a program of events for the only WTA tournament in this part of Europe - the Croatia Bol Open - was presented.

"Our tournament has so far proved to be the right place for players to leap in their career since every winner of the tournament managed to break into the Top 100," said Feliks Lukas, director of the tournament last week in Milan. 

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The significance of the tournament was recognized in the context of the promotion of Croatia, and in cooperation with the Croatian Tourist Board, it was presented to the leading Italian media in the premises of the tennis club A. Bonacossa. 

The Croatia Bol Open and the destination itself were presented by the mayor of Bol, Tihomir Marinković, the director of the Bol Tourist Board, Markito Marinković, the director of the HTZ representative office in Milan, Viviana Vukelić, and the director of the tournament Feliks Lukas. The unique story of the beautiful Bol, the BlueSun Zlatni Rat Tennis Center, and the sports and entertainment program of the competition intrigued those involved in Italian sports and the general public, as is evidenced by the fact that the WTA Croatia Bol Open story was last week published in the Gazzetta dello Sport. 

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Combing the unique characteristics of the destination and the tournament is continuously a reason many tennis players return to Bol each year, such as A. Krunić, T. Zidansek, P. Hercog, M. Minella, who we can expect to return this year to fight for the prize and 160 WTA points. 

It is well known now that the director of the tournament will invite FED Cup representatives Jana Fett and Teni Lukas, while the remaining two will be announced before the start of the tournament. On the list of 250 tennis players, there are 16 in the Top 100 and the list ends with the 116th best tennis player in the world. Up to 26 players can enter the tournament directly, while 145 are on the waiting list.

The tournament begins on June 3rd with the draw and Player's party. The first round will be played on Tuesday, and the big news this year is the introduction of night matches. Namely, night games in the first round will be played at 20:30 on the Central court, while Sunday's finals will begin at 20:05. For those who can’t make it to Bol, you can enjoy a direct transfer on your television screens thanks to the second program on HTV.

However, the entertainment on the Central court this year will begin an hour earlier, from 19:00, when Nina Badrić will take the stage of the WTA Croatia Bol. The closing ceremony of this year's tournament will feature top pianist Lola Astanova, one of the world’s best piano talents. 

Furthermore, the organizers have announced klapa Šufit and Kambi on the Friday of the tournament, and on June 8, the star of Saturday night will be Niki Belucci, who will perform at the Varadero club.

For all those who want to experience Bol, a top sporting event, and great fun, tickets for WTA Croatia Bol Open are available at

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

Monday, 6 May 2019

World's Biggest Welcome in Croatia: Day 45 - Bol to Hvar (Kayak)

May 6, 2019 - Putting Croatian adventure tourism on the map, with the biggest welcome in the world. Day 45 of this incredible 2011 adrenaline trip covering 2,500 km along the Croatian coast. 

The World's Biggest Welcome, an ambitious adventure tourism project in 2011 in Croatia enters Day 45 of this 2019 appreciation of one of the finest tourism promotion projects ever in Croatia.  

The plan? To showcase the diversity and fabulous offer of adventure tourism in Croatia by following a GPS route the length of the Croatian coast in the shape of the word 'Welcome' - thereby creating the biggest welcome in the world from a hospitable tourism country. 

Day 45 moved from Bol on the island of Brač to the island of Hvar by kayak to continue forming the 'M' in 'Welcome'. The 'Welcome team' also had an epic welcome to Hvar town.

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Day 45 began at one of Croatia's most famous beaches - Zlatni Rat in Bol. 



The crew then started their journey to Hvar. 


And was even followed by a helicopter. 


A Red Bull helicopter. 



The team forming in Bol. 




From Brač to Hvar - arriving in Vroboska.




Vrboska's most common nickname is 'Little Venice' as it has just one canal. 




The canal and Vrboska's stone bridge. 


Seems as if the group could barely fit!


The charming town in all of its glory. 


The team then traveled from Milna to Hvar town. 


Where they were greeted by Hvar mayor Pjerino Bebic.


And flares.


The mayor even helped the team pull their kayaks out of the sea!


And then it was time to party. 


The Cathedral of St. Stephen.


The team traveled to Malo Grablje in the evening.


And ended the night at tavern Stori Komin in Malo Grablje.

A key part of the project was promoting tourism, and the official website has details of the key places visited during the day. 

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You can see the entire project on the Welcome website, as well as much more of Luka Tambaca's stunning photography on the Welcome Facebook page

Tune in tomorrow for Day 46, as Lacko moves from Makarska to Lovište.

To follow the whole project from the start, follow the dedicated TCN page

All photos in the story by Luka  Tambača.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

World's Biggest Welcome in Croatia: Day 44 - Makarska to Bol (Kayak, Bike)

May 5, 2019 - Putting Croatian adventure tourism on the map, with the biggest welcome in the world. Day 44 of this incredible 2011 adrenaline trip covering 2,500 km along the Croatian coast. 

The World's Biggest Welcome, an ambitious adventure tourism project in 2011 in Croatia enters Day 44 of this 2019 appreciation of one of the finest tourism promotion projects ever in Croatia.  

The plan? To showcase the diversity and fabulous offer of adventure tourism in Croatia by following a GPS route the length of the Croatian coast in the shape of the word 'Welcome' - thereby creating the biggest welcome in the world from a hospitable tourism country. 


Day 44 moved from Makarska to Bol on Brač via kayak and bike. 

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Day 44 began from Makarska as Lacko and Cedo prepared the kayak in the sea.



A look at Lacko departing from Makarska. 


Lacko and Sajko rowing towards Brac.




Makarska in the distance.


Tea, Lacko and Sajko.




The group made it to Brač.


The perfect photo opportunity. 


Lacko needed a break. 


And a bit of therapy. 


After a bit of rest, the group painfully pedaled above Sumartin.


Lacko and Mislav pedaling towards Vidova gora hill.


And Zlatni Rat in all of its glory.


To end, a descent down Vidova gora hill. 

A key part of the project was promoting tourism, and the official website has details of the key places visited during the day. 

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You can see the entire project on the Welcome website, as well as much more of Luka Tambaca's stunning photography on the Welcome Facebook page

Tune in tomorrow for Day 45, as Lacko and the team move from Brač to Jelsa on the island of Hvar. 

To follow the whole project from the start, follow the dedicated TCN page

Sunday, 11 November 2018

The Mediterranean as It Once Was: Bol, Brac in 1960s (VIDEO)


November 11, 2018 - Continuing our look back at the Mediterranean as it once was, a visit to Bol on Brac, home to Croatia's most icon beach and one of its top destinations. Things were a little different 50 years ago... 

A delightful look at one of the jewels of Croatian island tourism half a century ago, out of season on a sunny day in January. 

Zlatni Rat is one of Croatia's popular beaches these days, but how refreshing to see a few lone fishermen ruling the beach as they continue the traditional way of life before the advent of large-scale tourism. 

Delightful Bol in the 1960s - watch the video below.

For more on Bol and the island of Brac, check out the latest TCN coverage on Croatia's tallest island.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Windy Weather Alters Croatia's Famous Zlatni Rat Beach

Zlatni Rat is one of the best-known symbols of Croatia, recognized for its captivating beauty and remarkable shape which was tweaked this week due to windy weather. 

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