Although in Croatia he is mostly remembered because of the big final, Patrick Rafter boasts with an incredible sports CV. Former world number one, two times US Open champion (1997 and 1998) and double Wimbledon finalist (2000 and 2001) has been a very popular figure on the ATP Tour for many years. Nowadays he is still active in the tennis world, especially through helping young Australian talent.
"Goran is a big friend of mine and I am looking forward to coming to Croatia. We've been trying to coordinate our schedules for a couple of years now so I can finally see how beautiful Croatia is and why players speak so highly of the Umag tournament. I am happy we'll make it happen this year and I'm really looking forward to July", the 46-year-old Aussie said.
Eighteen years after the final in the All England Club, 18 years after one of the biggest Wimbledon stories ever when a man ranked 125 in the world fulfilled his life dream playing the main draw on a wild card, spectators in Umag and TV viewers around the world will have a chance to relieve the experience one more time.
"It is a privilege to host a spectacular exhibition like this. We've worked hard to make this happen and I can't thank Goran and Pat enough. Umag deserves a big celebration for its 30th birthday and I am confident this will be a year to remember", said the tournament director Lawrence Frankopan.
Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag is the biggest annual sports event in Croatia that had a pleasure to host some of the most relevant world media in Umag.
"Our favorite sports event is celebrating its 30th birthday. This event is more than tennis, it's a part of Umag's identity as a sports destination, a trendsetter that raises the bar of excellence and quality in all its segments. The Umag tournament is a mixture of sports, gourmet, and entertainment, and with its 30 editions, it is one of the most long-lasting sports events in Croatia with a key role in the international recognizability of Umag and Croatia as a tourist and sports destination. The 30th edition of the event will give our guests a chance to enjoy not only world-class sports but also the natural beauty of Istria, gourmet offer and our one of kind hospitality", said the Plava Laguna board chairman Neven Staver.
Apart from this exciting exhibition match, the jubilee edition of the tournament will be marked by a great player field, diverse party program, and unique gourmet offer. Tournament program 2019 can be found here.
Tickets for the Ivanisevic - Rafter exhibition and for the rest of the tournament can be found here.