Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Art Gallery Opened in Split Hospital, Named after Architect Who Designed the Building

February 16th, 2022 - The gallery is named after Zoja Dumengjić, the architect who designed the hospital complex in Firule

It’s not every day that you hear about public medical institutions introducing art into their spaces, but the Clinical Hospital Center (KBC) in Firule, Split did just that by establishing a gallery in its central building.

The Zoja Dumengjić Gallery, named after the architect who designed the hospital complex in Firule, was opened at the ground floor of the central building of KBC Split on February 14th. As reported by Vizkultura, this was a joint project of the Croatian Association of Visual Artists Split (HULU Split) and the KBC Split. The initiative originates from the 41st Split Salon, named Not Completely Lost for Each Other and curated by Ivana Meštrov in collaboration with Ana Janevski.

Bolnica-Firule_Foto-Sonja-Lebos-2019-1200x900.jpgFirule Hospital / Image by Sonja Leboš, UIII Archive

The newly established gallery is introducing itself to the public with its first exhibition, named Retropolis. It’s a project of the Association for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Research (UIII), presented by visual anthropologist and ethnologist Sonja Leboš and visual artists Stella Leboš and Luana Lojić.

Retropolis is dedicated to Dumengjić, the famous architect and designer of the Firule general hospital in Split that opened in 1951.

‘The gallery will be modular and fluid, without a permanent location within the Clinical Hospital Center, and adaptable to the nature and diversity of media featured in contemporary art. However, the Zoja Dumengjić Gallery project is permanent in terms of its long-term intention. Such positive collaborations are truly rare, even in international terms, and make us especially happy as artists’, explained President of HULU Split Vice Tomasović.

Zoja Dumengjić (1904-2000) worked as a designer at the Institute of Hygiene and the School of Public Health in the 1930s, where she specialised in healthcare facilities and was largely inspired by those designed by the renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.

zoja5-1-1024x893.jpgZoja Dumengjić / Archives of Zoja and Selimir Dumengjić

Dumengjić's work wasn’t entirely unrecognised during her long and prolific career: she won the Viktor Kovačić Lifetime Achievement Award in 1979, and received the Charter of the Split General Hospital in 1984 for her outstanding contribution to the development of the Firule hospital.

Directly inspired by the work of Zoja Dumengjić, the artworks that were displayed at the 41st Split Salon point to the importance of universally accessible architectural design for health. This principle is engrained in the very idea that led to the gallery being established in KBC Split in the first place.

‘I believe that the Zoja Dumengjić Gallery, in cooperation with HULU Split, will operate creatively and achieve long-term success within the KBC; that it will continuously strengthen Zoja Dumengjić's vision of architecture and visual arts in the service of health, but also make our patients and healthcare staff more familiar with the life and work of the architect who designed the Split hospital. I am especially glad that the gallery’s opening on the eve of the KBC Split Day which marks the merging of Firule, Križine and Toplice facilities into a joint institution’, said Dr. Julije Meštrović, director of KBC Split.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Split Open 2 Comes to End: "This is the Roland Garros of Split"

April 20, 2021 - Split Open 2, or the third Split Open edition held last week at the Firule Tennis Center, has come to an end. 

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."


Bruno Karadza

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).


Veljko Martinovic

"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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Saturday, 10 April 2021

ATP Challenger Split Open 3rd Edition Begins on April 12!

April 10, 2021 - The ATP Challenger Split Open 3rd edition, which starts on Monday, April 12, was announced at a press conference on the Firule Tennis Center's terrace.

Tournament director Ismar Moralić said that this week's tournament, which is still in progress, is going great, and he also revealed that three invitations for the main tournament go to Croatian tennis players Borna Gojo, Duje Ajduković, and Nino Serdarušić.

"The first tournament is taking place in a nice atmosphere so far. It is disturbed only by bad weather and low temperatures that we struggle with every day. We are bravely going to the second week," said Moralić, expressing satisfaction that all the players, their entourage, and the tournament staff are negative for Covid-19.

"This is actually a key thing because only one infected person can knock down an entire tournament like a domino. Tests are according to the ATP protocol every Wednesday, and I hope that next week we will all be negative."


Veljko Martinović

Like this week, Duje Ajduković and Nino Serdarušić will receive two invitations for the main tournament. The third will be given to Borna Gojo, who skipped the first tournament due to a back injury.

"Borna worked hard, went through therapy, and we believe that he will achieve a good result in the next tournament, just like Duje and Nino. Duje returned in an incredible match against Brown, and Nino defeated Clarke in conditions that were more similar to polar ones, and that certainly took away a lot of his strength for the next match," said Moralić.

The list of players will remain similar to this week.

"The 'cut' for the main tournament is 202nd place, and for the qualifications 220th, so even a little lower than this week. We hope for a slightly better weather forecast," Moralić added.

Borna Gojo, who was also at the press conference, spook about his back problems.

"It started in Australia when I was quarantined for 14 days. The day after I went out, I played with Popyrin and carried those problems ever since. It's taking a while. I expect to win every tournament, so do Duje and Nino."

Unfortunately, there will be no audience in the stands next week either.

"The audience will be missed a lot. I wouldn't be the first to play in the semifinals last year if it weren't for the audience. They pushed Duje and me. Home is always a special feeling. From what I hear from other tennis players, the impressions are positive. They are satisfied with the club, organization, and accommodation," said Gojo.


Veljko Martinović

Ajduković, on the other hand, hopes for a better result than this week when he was eliminated in the second round. However, he’s happy to be playing at all, given that he recently got over the coronavirus.

"My fight and effort brought me back to the match against Brown, and against Role, I chose the wrong tactics, and after that, it was difficult to come back. I had COVID-19, because of which I spent ten days in isolation in Zadar, and now it is not easy to regain my old form. I didn’t even know if I would play, so these two matches will help lift my form. I will definitely be better next week," said Ajduković.

Serdarušić also dropped out in the second round, but that is also a shift compared to last year when he was knocked out in the first round.

"Thanks to the director for the invitation, it's great that we have three Croatians in the main tournament. For me, this week was positive because I didn't really play this year. I also went through COVID-219 and quarantine. The situation is certainly not normal because we are quarantined almost every week, we have to get tested, and we don’t know if we will cross the border, but at least we are lucky to be able to play. A lot of players are under stress, and no one is in great shape. It’s great for us that we don’t really have to travel outside the country every week, and now we’re home for two weeks. These conditions on Firule can only be compared to Monte Carlo, in that the terrain is immediately at sea."

The draw for the qualifiers, singles tournament, and doubles tournament is scheduled for Saturday.

"I hope that we will have at least one Croat in the final. Let Borna, Duje, and Nino agree on who it will be!" concluded Ismar Moralić. 

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Tuesday, 6 April 2021

ATP Challenger Split Open: Round One Results

April 6, 2021 - Bernard Tomić, the main star of the ATP Challenger Split Open, was eliminated in the first round by seventh-seed Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium 6:2, 4:6, 6:3.

In the two-hour match, the Australian and former member of the Top 20 had an early "break" at the start of the third set. He saved as many as nine breaks in that set, but Coppejans, the junior winner of Roland Garros in 2012, took away Tomić's service for the 5:3 lead, followed by 0-40 on the way to the victory. In the next round, Coppejans goes against another Australian, Aleksandar Vukić, who eliminated Croatian Mili Poljičk.


Robert Pleško


Robert Pleško

The third seed, Austrian Sebastian Ofner, lost to Argentine Andrea Collarini 6:4, 6:4, the fifth seed Danilo Petrović from Serbia easily defeated the Czech veteran Lukas Rosol 6:1, 6:3, registering his first victory this year, and the sixth seed Blaž Rola from Slovenia was successful against Kazakhstan's Dmitrij Popko (6:3, 6:4).


Robert Pleško

Last year's Split Open quarterfinalist Maximilian Marterer from Germany and Swede Elias Ymer also qualified for the second round, and Blaž Kavčič, Uladzimir Ignatik, Akira Santillan, and Mirza Bašić secured a place in the main tournament through the qualifications.


Robert Pleško

Tuesday should be a rich day in Firule, although Split's weather forecast is not very favorable, especially in the latter part of the day. The program on the Central Court at 10:30 am will be opened by Duje Ajduković and Dustin Brown, the third match at 10:30 am on Court 3 will be played by Nino Serdarušić and Jay Clarke, and the doubles tournament will start, with three Croatian pairs in action (Krolo / Mikrut, Kekez / Poljičak and the Sabanov brothers). Last year's finalist and first-seed Pedro Sousa will also play, followed by Robin Haase and Thanasi Kokkinakis.


Robert Pleško

Vukić (Aus) - Poljičak (Hrv, WC) 6:1, 6:1
Petrović (Srb, 5) - Rosol (Češ) 6:1, 6:3
Collarini (Arg) - Ofner (Aut, 3) 6:4, 6:4
Marterer (Nje) - Domingues (Por) 7:5, 6:3
E. Ymer (Šve) - Muller (Fra) 6:0, 6:4
Coppejans (Bel, 7) - Tomić (Aus) 6:2, 4:6, 6:3
Rola (Slo, 6) - Popko (Kaz) 6:3, 6:4

Round 2 Qualifications
Kavčič (Slo, 1) - Martineau (Fra) 3:6, 6:3, 6:1
Ignatik (Bje, 7) - Wu (Tpe, 2) 7:6 (1), 6:3
Santillan (Aus, 3) - Zekić (Srb) 2:6, 6:3, 6:4
Bašić (BiH, 5) - Klein (Svk, 4) 6:2, 6:4

April 6, 2021

Central Court (from 10:30)
Ajduković (Hrv, WC) - Brown (Nje, PR)
Haase (Niz) - Polmans (Aus, 2)
Sousa (Por, 1) - Žuk (Polj)
Golubev/Nedovjesov (Kaz, 1) - Krolo/Mikrut (Hrv, WC)

Court 3 (from 10:30)
Bolt (Aus) - Ignatik (Bje, Q)
Bašić (BiH, Q) - Ilkel (Tur)
Clarke (VB) - Serdarušić (Hrv, WC)
Raja/Weissborn (Ind/Aut, 4) - Kekez/Poljičak (Hrv, WC)

Court 4 (from 10:30)
Safwat (Egi, 4) - Kavčič (Slo, Q)
Kokkinakis (Aus, PR) - Horansky (Svk, 8)
Santillan (Aus, Q) - Kolar (Češ, SE)
Petrović/Safwat (Srb/Egi) - I. Sabanov/M. Sabanov (Hrv)

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Monday, 5 April 2021

ATP Challenger Split Open: Croatian Mili Poljičak Falls against Aleksandar Vukić

April 5, 2021 - Mili Poljičak tried as hard as he could, but failed to make it out of the Split Open's first round.

The 16-year-old tennis player from Split, who received an invitation from the organizers instead of the injured Borna Goja, met Aleksandar Vukić on Monday who made it very tough to win. It was 6:1, 6:1 in 51 minutes of play.

Even with good knowledge of the Firule terrain, it couldn't help Mili, as the Australian tennis player with Montenegrin and Bosnian roots was simply too strong. Mili tried many things, on one occasion even a serve under his arm, but nothing worked in the long run against the twenty-four-year-old Sydney-born player and the 207th tennis player on the ATP list.


Robert Pleško

"I expected more, but it didn't work out. He was a lot better than me, and I wasn’t at my best. For me, this is only the fourth senior tournament; here the guys are more prepared, better, and faster and it is difficult to switch from junior tennis. If I had used some opportunities at the beginning of the match, it might have been different, but Vukić set himself up well and I had no chance," commented Poljičak after the match, who reached his first professional victory in ITF tournaments in Rovinj last month. Now, he's made his debut in the Challengers in Split and, despite a convincing defeat, gained valuable experience to continue his career.


Robert Pleško

Poljičak is also competing in the doubles competition of the Split Open, where he and partner Duja Kekez will play against fourth seed Raja and Weissborn in the first round.

"After these doubles, the plan is to play the next Challenger in Split, then Futures in Šibenik, some junior tournaments, and then junior Roland Garros," concluded Poljičak.

Winner Vukić praised the young Croatian tennis player.


Robert Pleško

"He is young and has potential, it can be seen immediately. I was already in Croatia, in Bol at the ITF tournament and it was really nice. So that is why I am here now in Split. The hotel and food are great, the tennis center in Firule too. Everything is great."

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Saturday, 3 April 2021

First Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in Split held at Firule Tennis Center!

April 3, 2021 - As a kind of overture to this year's Split Open, the organizers prepared a commendable action and organized a wheelchair tennis tournament in Split that they hope will become a tradition!

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.


Robert Pleško

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.


Robert Pleško

"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.


Robert Pleško

"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.


Robert Pleško

"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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Saturday, 3 April 2021

Split Open: Two ATP Challenger Tournaments in Split this Month!

 April 3, 2021 - The second edition of the ATP Challenger Split Open this year will be a two-parter! Week after week, two ATP Challenger tournaments in Split will be played, from April 5 to 11 and from April 12 to 18, at the Tennis Center in the Firule neighborhood of Split.

Last year's premiere edition at the beginning of autumn was a success, and this year an additional step forward is expected in all segments of the organization.

Just before the start of the tournament, a press conference was organized on the terrace of the Split Tennis Club 1950 in Firule, where the tournament director Ismar Moralić revealed the main news.

“The fact that we have two tournaments is a reward for all the good we did last year. The original date was from April 12 to 18, and then there was an opportunity for another tournament that we couldn’t miss. Unfortunately, despite all our efforts, we did not get permission for spectators in the stands. These are some things we can’t influence.


Robert Pleško

Strong names in the draw are expected this year, although Moralić points out that the final list of players depends on the negative tests for Covid-19, which the players must submit by Sunday.

“The ‘cut’ for the main tournament is 188th place, and for the qualifiers 216. Again, none of our players could enter the qualifiers, giving them invitations for the main tournament. They go to the local boys and last year's semifinalists Borna Goja and Duja Ajduković and our Davis Cup national team member Nino Serdarušić. I believe the second tournament will be even stronger as only Monte Carlo is played that week. We have 32 players in the draw, and 450 of them applied for the tournament. This year we also had pre-qualifications in which 40 players competed. They were a complete hit, and that is the direction we will continue.”

Moralić thanked everyone without whose support the tournament would not have been possible.

“Thank you to the City of Split with Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, who recognized the project; thank you to Split-Dalmatia County, the Split Tourist Board, and the Split Sports Federation headed by Andrija Polić. Look at the club today; it looks better than a year ago, infrastructurally and the court's quality."

Mate Omazić, Head of the Department for Social Activities, spoke on behalf of the City of Split.

“Under normal conditions, the goal was to have a tournament before Sv. Duje, in the pre-season. Last year's edition had a great response, and I am glad that the children of Split will once again get a chance to earn points that will raise them on the ranking list. We need to invest in young people, and the City has recognized that. TC Firule gets the final views.”


Robert Pleško

Ivica Kekez, president of TK Split 1950, announced that Split could soon win the tournament at the ATP level.

"We are creating a world brand, and Split and this center deserve an ATP tournament, although it will depend on the economic situation in the city. We could do it at the level of Umag, if not better."

The statement of Tomislav Borozan, director of the Public Institution Sports Facilities Split, is on the same track.

“I am sure that this tournament will make a step forward in quality and organization and that it will become an ATP tournament. This center deserves it. By the way, traffic and parking are a big problem at this location, but we have a solution. There is a two-story parking project on plots 8, 9, and 10 where there are over 3000 square meters; it was denied funds due to COVID-19 last year. There are 250 parking spaces and three new tennis courts at the road level, which would give us three indoor courts. It is a self-sustainable project; not a penny is needed from the city budget.”

The draw for the Split Open qualifiers is scheduled for Saturday, and the main tournament draw for Sunday. Qualifiers are played on Sunday and Monday, and the first matches of the main tournament are also from Monday, April 5t.

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Sunday, 4 October 2020

Francisco Cerundolo Wins First Split Open After Dramatic Final

October 4, 2020 - The winner of the premiere edition of the ATP Challenger Split Open is Francisco Cerundolo, who defeated the first-seed Pedro Sousa in the tie break of a tense final.

The Argentine reduced the result, then twice failed to serve for the match in the third set before reaching his first title at a Challenger tournament. Cerundolo finally celebrated in the 13th game of the final (4:6, 6:3, 7:6 (4)). To make the story more intriguing, Cerundolo was the last tennis player to enter the main draw of the tournament directly according to the ranking. As such, he was certainly not among the winners.


Robert Pleško

"I am thrilled. This was an amazing week full of long and difficult matches. I fought in every match, and I believe this will be just the first in a series of my trophies. I hope to play all four Grand Slams next year," said the 22-year-old from Buenos Aires.

Sousa, a Lisbon native who is ten years older than Cerundolo, opened the match better. Sousa led 6-4, 1-0 with a break, but Cerundolo fought back by winning six of the next eight games. There were no breaks by the middle of the deciding set, and then the match began to heat up and reached a climax worthy of a final. Cerundolo served twice for the match, at 5:4 and 6:5, just like in the quarterfinal against Marterer, and again, as then, he did not finish the job.

Still, his more aggressive and risky game eventually paid off. It was 5-2, then 5-4, and Cerundolo managed to keep both of his serves to win in the tie break. He dropped to the ground while the spectators applauded him for the well-deserved title.


Robert Pleško

"I was nervous and tired at the end of the match. I couldn't even think anymore. I am glad that I still got a new opportunity and still won," said Cerundolo, who achieved four victories this week in three sets, which speaks volumes about his mental stability. He showed it the day before in the semifinal against Duja Ajdukovic, played in the stormy southern wind.

"It was impossible to play yesterday. I was hitting in the middle of the court because otherwise, I missed everything. It was a real mental victory," recalled the Argentine who will enter the top 200 on the ATP list for the first time tomorrow. He will receive 6,190 euro for the title in Split, while Sousa will receive 3,650 euro.

The Portuguese entered the final as a favorite, considering that he was the first seed, has more experience, played the final of the ATP tournament in Buenos Aires, and won seven Challengers.


Robert Pleško

"Today, the conditions were perfect, but that didn't help me either," commented Sousa, who is close to returning to the top 100 (he will be 111th from tomorrow).

"I hope to get closer to entering the top 100 and stay there. I like your city, it is beautiful, and the conditions are great, so I would love to come back here," said the 32-year-old Portuguese at the end.

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Friday, 25 September 2020

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

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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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Split Open: ATP Challenger Tour Spectacle to be Held at Firule Tennis Center

September 22, 2020 - Split Open, part of the ATP Challenger Tour, will be held at the Firule tennis center from September 28 to October 4, 2020. For the first time in history, an international world-class tournament from the ATP system will be held continuously in Split.

When Roland Garros begins, an ATP Challenger Tour will be held in the Firule area of Split from September 28 to October 4, 2020. Thus, tennis returns to Split after 22 years, and one of the most deserving people for that is the tournament director Ismar Moralic, a tennis fan who lives in Zagreb.

"The tournament was supposed to be played in April, but due to the coronavirus, we managed to fight for a new tournament. Qualifications for the main tournament begin on September 26. We are glad that the tournament is of exceptional quality, even though it is played in the week of Roland Garros. The last tennis player to enter the main draw is 180th in the rankings. This is a fact that even some tennis tournaments from the main series of $500,000 cannot boast," said Moralic, and then added:

"The tournament is played under extremely strict measures prescribed by the ATP and the Croatian Institute of Public Health. We will strictly adhere to them. We are happy that the spectators will be in the stands, and we will know how many there will be 48 hours before the start of the tournament. Some of the special features of the tournament are the reduced number of people on the court. During the matches, the line umpires will not be until the semifinals. From the semifinals, only three line umpires will be allowed alongside the chief umpire and a smaller number of children to collect. From the first day when this tournament was proposed, the City of Split, the County, the Split Tourist Board, and the Public Institution Sports Facilities stood behind us."

The importance of this tournament for the city of Split was emphasized by the department head for social activities, Mate Omazic.

"At the first idea when Mr. Moralic called us, we reluctantly accepted it to give a boost to tennis. We know that the club has young talents, and they are trying to restore the splendor of Split tennis. I hope this will contribute to the development of the sport. The plan was late April, early May. It is an ideal term, pre-season, we hope that we will have that term from 2021. We expect good tennis," said Omazic.

County head for education, culture, and sports Tomislav Đonlic pointed out his satisfaction that tennis is returning to Firule.

"Firule gave birth to big names in Croatian and international tennis. Goran, as the greatest we all carry in our hearts, but also those before and after him. I am glad that this initiative has not been abandoned. Congratulations to everyone involved in the organization. We hope for this to become a tradition. The county will be there as a partner in the implementation of this project," said Đonlic.

On behalf of the Sports Facilities Sports Institution, Tomislav Borozan pointed out the good cooperation with the Split Tennis Club 1950.

"From the day when the City of Split fully entrusted us with the maintenance of this tennis center, we have taken our work seriously. One tournament like this is an added wind at our backs. Our cooperation with TK Split 1950 is at an excellent level; we are very satisfied. We were sorry that the tournament was postponed, and these days we will work if necessary in three shifts to get everything ready."

On behalf of the Split Tennis Club 1950, President Ivica Kekez spoke about history.

"This year, we are celebrating 70 years of playing tennis in this area. The founders were tennis enthusiasts and devoted their entire lives to working with children. This has resulted in people like Nikola Pilic. I assure you that our coaches, all of them who work with children, can work in any international center. We now have a tournament that is a stimulus for all children to continue to develop and have strong players in the future, which will be good for Croatian sport."

Source: Dalmatinski Portal

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