Thursday, 6 June 2019

WTA Croatia Bol Open: Mrdeža Only Croatian Player in Second Round

June 5, 2019 - The second day of the WTA Croatia Bol Open was not the best day for Croatian tennis players. In the first match of the day on the central court of the Bluesun tennis center in Zlatni rat, Jana Fett lost 6:2, 6:2. Fett held it at 2:3 in the first set, though her opponent ultimately won the first set and proceeded to win the second. There was no security in Jana’s strikes and her Swiss opponent kept the ball safe, and without too much risk, came to the victory. 

The middle of the day was reserved for Lea Bošković, though her German opponent Anna-Lena Friedsam was better 6:4, 6:4. For the evening game which started at 20:30 on the central court of the Bluesun tennis center, Laura Siegmund defeated last year's semi-finalist Tena Lukas 6:2, 6:2.

sigmund2.jpg

"The ambience was perfect, but I played poorly. Laura did not do anything spectacular, she had some luck at some points, but I was not at my level and my service did not function as it should have,” Tena said.

tena_lukas4.jpg

And indeed, there were several double faults - in one game, three were counted!

The only remaining Croatian tennis player is Teresa Mrdeža who will play in the second round on Thursday against Siegmund who defeated Tena tonight: 

"I sincerely hope that Tereza will win against her. It will be a good match,” Tena concluded.

Slovenian Kaja Juvan had an excellent game and kicked off the tournament with a great victory over her fellow countrywoman Dalila Jakupovič 6:2, 6:0. Last year’s winner Tamara Zidanšek convincingly defeated Mandy Minella, the first winner of this tournament (2016). In yet another game between fellow countrywomen, Serbian player Aleksandra Krunić, the winner of Bol in 2017 defeated the Olga Danilović 7:6 (0), 6:2. 

DAY TWO

J. Fett (CRO) - S. Voegele (SUI) 2:6, 2:6

T. Zidanšek (SLO) -  M. Minella (LUX) 7:5, 6:2

A. Krunić (SRB) – Olga Danilović (SRB) 7:6 (0), 6:2

L. Siegemund (GER) - T. Lukas (CRO) 6:2, 6:2

K. Juvan (SLO) - D. Jakupovič (SLO) 6:2, 6:0

E. Gorgodze (GEO) - V. Flink (RUS) 3:6, 5:7

Y. Bonaventure (BEL) - P. Badosa Gibert (ESP) 6:3, 6:2

A. Friedsam (GER) - L. Bošković (CRO) 6:4, 6:4

You can read more about the tournament here

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

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

WTA Croatia Bol Open: Jana Fett Loses: "I Did Not Show Much, Made Many Mistakes"

June 5, 2019 - The first day and first match of the WTA Croatia Bol Open on Bluesun's central court did not go in favor of the home fans. Namely, Jana Fett did not have her day or a real answer to the game of Swiss player Stefanie Voegele, who defeated Fett 6:2, 6:2 in just over an hour. 

Fett came to 3:2 in both sets, had some good plays in the match but did not manage to maintain continuity in the game. She made so many mistakes that Voegele began to anticipate them. 

“I did not feel well on the court. I do not know, it happens, that's normal in sports. I had a few good games and then the system broke down," Jana said after the match. She also knows that she did not show her opponent was she is capable of.

fett_jana3.jpg

"It did not show much, I made a lot of mistakes and that ruled the game,” Jana concluded, expressing hope that her performance in doubles would be better. After Bol, Jana awaits the season on grass courts and her appearance in Manchester.

One of the younger tennis players to appear on Wednesday is Slovenian Kaja Juvan, who entered the tournament on a high, defeating her fellow countrywoman Dalila Jakupovič 6:2, 6:0. Otherwise, Kaja Juvan is 18 years old, the 131st best player in the world, and is already under the auspices of the Starwings agency (Donna Vekić, Stan Wawrinka, and even Borna Ćorić). However, this was not her first appearance in Bol.

"I was here twice on vacation for a tennis camp when I was young and then I played the ITF tournament Lukas organized before this and achieved my first professional win,” concluded Kaja, adding and that she would have no objection to winning her first career WTA title in Bol.

DAY TWO
J. Fett (CRO) - S. Voegele (SUI) 2:6, 2:6
K. Juvan (SLO) - D. Jakupovič (SLO) 6:2, 6:0

Y. Bonaventure (BEL) - P. Badosa Gibert (ESP) 6:3, 6:2

T. Zidanšek (SLO) -  M. Minella (LUX) 
A. Krunić (SRB) - Tamara Zidanšek (Slo)
L. Siegemund (GER) - T. Lukas (CRO)
E. Gorgodze (GEO) - V. Flink (RUS) 
A. Friedsam (GER) - L. Bošković (CRO) 

Find out more about the WTA Croatia Bol Open here

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

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

WTA Croatia Bol Open: Tereza Mrdeža Moves Forward!

June 4, 2019 - Tennis has come home! Bol is a well known and acknowledged international tennis center, and on Tuesday the WTA Croatia Bol Open began on the courts of the Bluesun Tennis Center. The 125 series WTA tournament is the strongest yet, and it is particularly interesting that all three former winners, Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella, Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunić and Slovenia’s Tamara Zidanšek are back on Brač. Zidanšek and Minella will play each other at the start, and their duel is scheduled on Wednesday.

Tuesday, the first day of the tournament, already offered some exciting clashes and a closer look at several players that could go to the end of this year's competition. One of them is Slovakian Ana Karolina Schmiedlova who defeated Dutch player Bibiane Schoofs 6:1, 6:1. In the first round of Roland Garros, Scmiedlova faced the best female player in the world, Naomi Osaka. In the first set, she was up 6:0, though she lost in a tie break in the second, though overall it was a very close match. In Bol, however, she looks even better.

mrdeza_tereza.jpg

"I feel great here; this is my third time at the tournament. The tournament is wonderful and I believe that I can play well now. This was not my best game today, the result was good, but it was not that easy. At times it was very hot,” Schmiedlova said.

The night game on the Central Court, which was played from 20:30, featured Tereza Mrdeža who defeated Czech player Denisa Allertová 6:1, 6:0.

The interesting news of the night came from Tena Lukas, who will take the court in Bol on Wednesday. Namely, Marin Čilić has invited Lukas to the "Game, Set, Croatia" exhibition, which will be held in Zagreb on June 12th with a number of famous names like Luke Modrić and Ivan Rakitić. The revenue collected from the event is intended for the multifunctional sports ground of OŠ Tordinci.

1st Round

B. Schoofs (NED) - [4] A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 1:6, 1:6

A. Bogdan (ROU) vs [WC] M. Djakovic (SRB) 6:1, 6:3

[WC] A. Danilina (KAZ) vs [5] A. Sharma (AUS) 6:4, 2:6, 5:7
B. Haddad Maia (BRA) vs [2] S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 3:6, 4:6
A. Tatishvili (USA) vs [7] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) 2:6, 2:6
D. Allertova (CZE) vs T. Mrdeza (CRO) 1:6, 0:6
[6] J. Teichmann (SUI) vs I. Begu (ROU) 6:3, 6:1
V. Strakhova (UKR) vs N. Hibino (JPN) 3:6, 4:6

Doubles

Y. Bonaventure (BEL) / B. Schoofs (NED) vs D. Jakupovič (SLO) / T. Lukas (CRO) 6:4, 7:5
A. Bogdan (ROU) / C. Skamlova (SVK) vs [4] A. Danilina (KAZ) / Y. Sizikova (RUS) 4:6, 6:1, 10-6

L. Bošković (CRO) / M. Đaković (SRB) vs O. Danilović (SRB) / T. Zidanšek (SLO) 0:6, 0:6

You can read more about the tournament here

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

Monday, 3 June 2019

WTA Croatia Bol Open: Four Croatian Players in the Tournament!

June 3, 2019 - An exciting draw at the Cocktail Bar Varadero in the center of Bol started the official program of the WTA Croatia Bol Open on Monday afternoon. 

"We want the tournament and tennis to live with the community, with Bol, that the whole town lives for tennis, and not that it only takes place on tennis courts that are far from the center of Bol,” said tournament director Feliks Lukas at the start.

The first-seed of this year's edition, last year's winner Tamara Zidanšek, was joined today by young Serbian player Olga Danilović and Croatia’s Jana Fett.

The draw began somewhat later than the previously announced 4:30 pm because at 4 pm, it was time to see which reported players are continuing their run at Roland Garros, explained supervisor Cristina Romero, the official WTA representative since the first edition of the tournament.

The first drawn pair is two winners of the Bol tournament, namely Zidanšek will play her first match against Mandy Minella from Luxemburg. Furthermore, Jana Fett awaits the winner of this match if she overcomes Switzerland's Stefanie Voegel.

WTA_zdrijeb_bol.jpg

The 2017 winner, Serbian player Aleksandra Krunić, will play against the young Danilović, while Slovenians, Kaja Juvan and Dalila Jakupović, will also play against each other.

Croatia’s Tena Lukas will measure power with Laurom Siegmund, Teresa Mrdeža will play against Czech player Denisa Allertová, and the young Ana Bošković awaits German Anna Lena Friedsman.

"The atmosphere is great, relaxed. The draw could be worse and better for me, but in the end, my result will depend mostly on my game,” said Jana Fett honestly at the end of the draw.

WTA_zdrijeb_bol2.jpg

"The beginning of the year was not the best. I was in the top 100, but then there were some problems, I had injuries, and I hope I can get back closer to the top," Fett added.

Matches on the Bluesun tennis courts at Zlatni Rat start on Tuesday, June 4 at 1 pm. 

CROATIA BOL OPEN - BOL, CROATIA

$125,000

SCHEDULED MATCHES – TUESDAY, 04.06.2019

BLUESUN start at 13:00 

B. Schoofs (NED) vs [4] A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 

B. Haddad Maia (BRA) vs [2] S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 

A. Tatishvili (USA) vs [7] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) 

Not Before 20:30
D. Allertova (CZE) vs T. Mrdeza (CRO) 

KRAŠ start at 13:00 

[WC] A. Danilina (KAZ) vs [5] A. Sharma (AUS)
[6] J. Teichmann (SUI) vs I. Begu (ROU)
After Rest - Y. Bonaventure (BEL) / B. Schoofs (NED) vs D. Jakupovic (SLO) / T. Lukas (CRO)
After Rest - A. Bogdan (ROU) / C. Skamlova (SVK) vs [4] A. Danilina (KAZ) / Y. Sizikova (RUS) 

LUKAS start at 13:00
A. Bogdan (ROU) vs [WC] M. Djakovic (SRB)
V. Strakhova (UKR) vs N. Hibino (JPN)
After Rest - [WC] L. Boskovic (CRO) / M. Djakovic (SRB) vs O. Danilovic (SRB) / T. Zidansek (SLO) 

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

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. 

IMG_8519.JPG

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. 

_P1B7912.jpg

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

Monday, 27 May 2019

New Catamaran Lines Presented, to Operate in Summer 2019 Season

In the last several days we've received three separate reports of new catamaran lines introduced for the summer season of 2019, with the intent of inter-connecting Croatian islands. The fact that Croatian islands were often perceived as not inter-connected enough, and that you often had to go to Split in order to get to another island which was in fact quite close was often listed as one of the bigger problems for tourists in Croatia. 

Well, that seems to be changing: during summer 2019, there will be at least three new catamaran lines which will help fix that! Those are:

  • Split Airport - Split Town - Bol on Brač Island - Stari Grad on Hvar Island, operated by https://splitexpress.com/en
  • Rijeka - Krk (Krk) - Lopar (Rab) - Novalja (Pag) - Zadar, operated by G&VLine
  • Dubrovnik - Korčula (Korčula) - Hvar (Hvar) - Bol (Brač) - Split, operated by Jadrolinija.

The last of the three mentioned existed last year too, as we've made clear in our 2018 guide on how to get to Korčula Island. Obviously, it has proven to be a success last year, so Jadrolinija has decided to bring it back, starting operation on May 30th, and lasting until the end of September. The timetable (link to the .pdf document) is similar to last year's, with the key difference being that it will be departing Split 45 minutes earlier in the afternoon (at 15:30, while last year it was at 16:15), thus arriving in Dubrovnik also 45 minutes earlier. In addition, in Korčula, the ferry will not be docking at Dominče ferry port, rather at either the east or the west port in Korčula town itself. The very modern catamaran Jelena will be carrying passengers on this line.

Rijeka - Krk - Rab - Pag - Zadar is a new line, which connects the islands that are close to one another, but have never been well-connected. Now the new catamaran line will give the passengers the chance to island-hop, but also to make a same-day visit to the islands, as it will leave Rijeka in the morning, arriving in Zadar around midday, and you'll be able to from Zadar to Rijeka at around 8 pm. For a detailed timeline, click here (link to the .pdf document).

The timetable for the catamaran line connecting Split Airport, Split Town, Bol on Brač and Stari Grad on Hvar is a bit more complicated, but you can see it below:

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 (splitexpress.com), 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 Splitexpress.com.

“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 https://splitexpress.com

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.

MC20190523_7005 copy.jpg

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. 

MC20190523_7025 copy.jpg

"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.

MC20190523_6931 copy.jpg

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 www.ticketshop.hr

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

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Dalmatian Islands During WWII: 75th Anniversary of the Brač Raid

May 21, 2019 - During the winter of 1943/44, following the Italian capitulation, the Germans mounted a ferocious offensive to keep control of the Adriatic coast and protect their southern flank from Allied attack. Encircling Tito’s main forces in Western Bosnia, they flooded into the Dalmatian coast. By 21 December they were on Korcula and by 19 January they were on Hvar. They had driven before them large numbers of refugees, mostly the very young and the elderly, swelling the islands’ population by more than 15,000, most of them on Hvar.

Fitzroy Maclean, SOE’s envoy to Tito, had persuaded Churchill to respond s to the Partisan leader’s request for assistance by deploying a large group of Royal Navy Commandos alongside US troops on Vis.  It was clear to the Allies, though, that the refugees would have to be evacuated before serious fighting could ensue. Paul Bradbury’s for TCN article of Nov 2011 tells the story of the transport of thousands of refugees in severe hardship to Bari and thence to Egypt to the refugee camp at El Shatt. That freed the Allies to mount increasingly heavy raids on German island garrisons.

20180727_132929.jpg

By May 1944, there were more than 10,000 troops on Vis, including Royal Marine Commandos 40 and 43, a Battalion of Highland Light Infantry, US Special Forces, and the Partisans’ 1st and 13th Dalmatian Brigades (including several hundred men and women from Hvar). An airstrip had been laid out to accommodate a flight of Hurricanes and Spitfires. The allied Commanders were indeed considering capturing Hvar and Brač to create a logistical “bridge” between Vis and the mainland.

Their planning was disrupted when the Germans suddenly struck a massive blow against Tito at his HQ in Drvar in Western Bosnia. At dawn on 25 May, five squadrons of Junkers bombers flattened the town, preceding an airborne attack by a full Battalion of SS Paratroopers. Simultaneously, the whole region was encircled by German and NDH troops. Tito escaped the immediate attack but still had to fight his way out of the wider trap that was being set. British SOE officers attached to his HQ radioed the news to Vis. Tito was demanding that all Partisan units attack the Germans wherever they could and pleaded for similar action from the British.  On Vis, British and Partisan Commanders agreed on an immediate response: an amphibious attack on the island of Brač. It was to become the biggest Allied action in Yugoslavia during the entire war. The following is drawn from Commando records at the National Archives in Kew.

At 02.00 on 1 June, a Company of the Scottish were landed from Partisan schooners. They sailed round Hvar to Blaca cove on the South-West side of Brač. Their task was to eliminate an Observation Post on Vidova Gora, the highest point on the island, from which the Germans would have a clear view of the Allied landing zones along the south coast.

The Scots climbed up over the limestone ridges, each man carrying 60 lbs of weapons and supplies, and laid up for the rest of the day. At midnight, they attacked the German Observation Post. They came under heavy fire from concrete emplacements on which their mortar and stun gunfire had little effect. They cut the German telephone wires, fell back, reformed, and made a further determined attack, but were repulsed with heavy casualties. They had run into a barbed wire enclosure, heavily mined, surrounding the German position. All of their officers and ncos’s were either wounded or killed. Under heavy fire, they withdrew, making their way down the screen and winding tracks assisted by Partisan guides.

The main forces were landed unobserved at 00.30 on 2 June. 1,500 Partisans and 400 Commandos were landed at Blaca. The main task of this group was to destroy the German Command Post on a hilltop near Nerežišća in the centre of the island of Brač, overlooking their garrisons at Supetar on the north side and Sumartin at the eastern end of the island. Another 1,400 Partisans landed at Bol with the task of preventing the Germans from emerging from Sumartin. From dawn and throughout the day, the Partisans attacked Nerežišća, supported British artillery and air strikes by Spitfires from Vis. The Commandos joined the Partisan and made a more determined attack but failed to take their objective.

British Commandos carried out a further assault that night. Their leader was the eccentric Lieutenant Colonel Jack Churchill (no relation to the Prime Minister). Their attack was launched at 21.15 and pursued with great determination but after gaining part of the hill they were driven back. An hour later, Churchill led them on a further attack, playing his bagpipes as was his habit. They briefly took the German position but again the Germans reacted with mortar fire and counterattacked. Two troop leaders and a Lieutenant Colonel were killed. Churchill was wounded and taken prisoner with 35 of his men.

Pic 12.jpg

The German positions on the island consisted of an inner circle of rock and concrete linked by trenches and surrounded by minefields within barbed wire enclosures. They were killing zones. Nevertheless, the British had breached the barbed wire, crossed the minefields and engaged the enemy in their trenches until they ran out of ammunition. They then broke off, dragging their wounded with them. Evacuation began at 0600 that morning and a couple of hours later the surviving combatants were back on Vis.  

The raid achieved its immediate objective.  German forces were diverted from encircling Tito’s troops and the British got him out and flew him to Vis where he set up his headquarters. But a heavy price was paid. The British had lost their senior officers and nearly all their troop leaders, 16 men in all. Many of their 250 wounded would never fight again. The Partisans, who reported 130 Germans killed and 130 taken prisoners, lost 200. Moreover, there was no longer any need to establish a bridgehead to supply the Partisans on the mainland. The tide had turned. The biggest seaborne invasion in history was about to take place in Normandy, heralding the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation and contributing to Allied victory on the Western Front.

Page 8 of 24

Search