Even though this year's ATP Vegeta Croatia Open
is taking place between "two Wimbledons" and at the same time as
three other tournaments, the organizers have again managed to
attract the world's best tennis players. Last year's finalists,
Croatia's best tennis player Marin Čilić and
Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov, were the first to
confirm that they were coming this year.
Defending champion Dolgopolov is currently among
the Top 20 of the ATP list. His last season's victory in Umag was
the first title in the young Ukrainian's career. At the beginning
of this season he played so well - he was in the finale of Brisbane
- that he held the 13th place in the ATP list at one point.
"I would like to repeat my last year's success at the Umag
tournament! It was the first ATP Tour tournament I won in my career
and it will always be a special place for me, also because of its
unique atmosphere for us players as well as for all the
guests," Dolgopolov said.
Last year a Croatian player played in the finals of the Umag
tournament for the first time after 21 years. We were all delighted
about Marin Čilić's great success, and this year
he has the opportunity to take things to the next level. His
victory over David Nalbandian on clay, in front of the passionate
Argentinean supporters, showed that Marin is mentally and
physically prepared for big matches. Marin will have played all the
big clay and grass tournaments before Umag; he is eager to play and
it will definitely be a big help.
"Last year after Umag it all started to go uphill. I was in
the finals in Beijing and I won St. Petersburg. I had unfortunately
not played for the first two months of the season, but I am
mentally and physically very well now. I cannot wait for the
matches in Umag, which I dearly love because I'm playing in front
of my own audience. I played in Umag as a junior and I made it to
the finals last year. With a little bit of luck, I believe I can do
even more this year," Čilić said.
Tournament director Vanja Božičković is very
pleased to have last year's finalists come back to Umag, since both
of them are among the world's best tennis players.
"We are very happy to have players return to our tournament.
It is one of the proofs of the great quality of what we do. Of
course, this quality keeps us committed to delivering a superb
experience to the players and to the spectators this year as
well," Božičković said.