“This tournament is strategically important not only for Plava Laguna but also entire Croatia, Istria and Umag. We can honestly say that it is a global event that attracts people from across the world and complements their stay in the country. ATP is an excellent platform for Plava Laguna to present itself to the world,” said Davor Lukšić, President of the Supervisory Board of Plava Laguna.
“If we remember that the ATP Stadium is located in the stunning Stella Maris, that Plava Laguna offers top-quality accommodation, and that the tournament features a number of culinary and entertainment events, it is perfectly clear why this tournament has been going strong for thirty years now. Each day, we get around 10,000 visitors, which means that eventually, the tournament clocks up around 100,000 visitors in total. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Ministry of Tourism, Croatian National Tourist Board, Umag mayor and the entire city of Umag, our sponsors, the Lukšić family, and Ms. Arlen Brozić, who is at the helm of the team in charge of the tournament’s organization and whose members work hard all year long so the tournament would present itself in the best light possible. To see Umag and Croatia on the ATP map of the world is simply priceless,” added Neven Staver, Chairman of the tournament’s Organizing Committee and President of the Management Board of Plava Laguna.
For thirty years now, the tennis tournament in Umag has been quite important for Croatia, both sports- and tourism-wise. Tourism minister and head of the tourist board, Gari Cappelli and Kristjan Staničić respectively, talked about the image that the tournament was projecting around the world.
“Firstly, I would like to congratulate this great event on its anniversary, as for years now, it has been giving our guests reasons for visiting Umag. Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag is not just a sporting event but also a promotional opportunity for both Istria and Croatia. Thanks to the tournament, Croatia has found itself on the maps of Europe and the world for that type of events. Croatia does not need to compete with low prices but can do it with these types of events and quality. That is the Croatia we see and want. Once again, a huge congratulations to the organizers for holding out all these years, even in times of crisis,” stressed Gari Cappelli, Croatia’s tourism minister.
“The cooperation between all the stakeholders, including Plava Laguna, City of Umag, Istria County, Ministry of Tourism and Croatian National Tourist Board, is extremely important for the organization of Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, which has positioned itself as not only a sporting event but a social one as well. Moreover, the tournament has become a place where new activities and projects are arranged, so there is also a business element to it, and it has helped Umag turn into a very respectable tourist destination,” explained Kristjan Staničić, Director of the Main Office of the Croatian National Tourist Board.
List of players topped by Ćorić and Fognini, exhibition matches prepared by Ivanišević, Rafter and Prpić
This year’s tournament visitors can expect to see and enjoy an exceptional list of players led by Borna Ćorić and our favorite Italian Fabio Fognini, top-quality exhibition matches starring Goran Ivanišević, Goran Prpić and Patrick Rafter, great concerts, a unique culinary offer, and a number of other sports and entertainment events.
“In terms of players participating in it and their ATP rankings, this is one of the strongest tournaments in the last ten or so years. Along with Fognini, who is, as of today, up to the tenth position in the ATP rankings, and Ćorić, who has just replaced Marin Čilić as Croatia’s best-ranked tennis player, Umag will see the return of the title defender and last year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato. The Italian will thus have an opportunity to join the company of the legendary Carlos Moya and Thomas Muster, who have so far been the only players to defend their titles in Umag. Last year’s finalist Guido Pella, who is close to joining the top 20 tennis players in the world, will also play in the tournament, as will the 2017 champion, Russia’s Andrey Rublev. The courts at Stella Maris will also welcome the big three from Serbia: Monte Carlo finalist Dušan Lajović, Laslo Đere, who has had a great season and is already ranked 27th in the ATP rankings, and the excellent Filip Krajinović. Along with several other interesting names from the region, such as Slovenia’s Bedene and Hungary’s Fucsovics, we have all the preconditions for a top tournament,” announced Tomislav Poljak, Assistant Director of Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag.
Seven accompanying tournaments alongside the main tournament in Umag
Umag is known around the world as being more than a tennis tournament, largely owing to a number of side events, including the ITF Wheelchair Croatia Open Umag by HEP, and Umag Stars Open, which will feature some of the country’s most successful professional athletes, former professional athletes and people from the world of sports.
“The first ever ITF Wheelchair Croatia Open Umag powered by HEP will feature all the best players in Croatia, as well as players from Greece, Hungary, Austria and Italy. It will be an excellent event and it is my great pleasure, as both the organizer and player, that I will be participating in it. It is a huge event for wheelchair tennis players, and Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag has once again shown that it is much more than a tennis tournament. It is a much wider story with a social component that includes persons with disabilities as equal members,” stressed Anto Joskić, Croatia’s best wheelchair tennis player and organizer of this year’s ITF Wheelchair Croatia Open Umag powered by HEP.
“I would like to thank Plava Laguna for their excellent idea to add a recreational tournament to this international tennis event, thus allowing ‘ordinary’ people to try their hand at tennis. We all love watching tennis on TV and it looks pretty easy, and now we will have an opportunity to learn what it is really like to be on an actual court and compete. We will have both singles and doubles matches, and we have already been contacted by many athletes, actors, politicians… Many of them have already confirmed their participation, including Petar Ćiritović, Dražen Anzulović, Robert Jarni, Boris Živković, Srđan Andrić, Hrvoje Čale, Miran Pavlin, Luka Vidović, Alojzije Janković, Dado Majoli, Filip Juričić, Igor Musa, Dubravko Šimenc, Nikša Bratoš, and Patrik Ćavar. They will all do their best to win, so the event will certainly be a treat to watch. Hopefully, this tournament will one day also celebrate its 30th anniversary,” said Silvio Marić, former Croatian professional footballer and organizer of the Umag Stars Open.
Along with these two events, this year Umag will also host a NIKE tournament, an invitation tournament for the world’s top U14 tennis players who will get an opportunity to train with the professional players, and then, at the end of the week, even play against each other. We will also have the HEPI tournament, Plava Laguna VIP tennis tournament, HEMPEL tournament, and TRIGLAV tournament.
Finally, the 30-year-long history of the tournament in Umag will be featured in a documentary by the Croatian broadcaster HRT, as well as a monograph which will be published soon.
“I had the privilege of being involved in the tournament even before it became a reality – way back when the stadium was being built; however, a building is absolutely meaningless without the emotions. Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag has already crossed the boundaries of sports. Here in Umag, we have the winning formula: we are known for sports and we live off tourism. Being around for thirty years means having a tradition and is proof that our tournament has a soul. We are happy and proud to be hosting a tournament that boasts a global significance and brings added value to the citizens of Umag, Istria and Croatia. I would like to thank all those who thirty years ago knew that and combined sports and tourism in the best way possible. We are, after all, the westernmost city in Croatia and we do things like the westerners do,” concluded Umag Mayor Vili Bassanese, making all those present laugh.