Photo: Veljko Martinović


Unfortunately, Božo Barun did not manage to make it through the qualifications to the main tournament of the Split Open. In the second and final round, he was stopped in two sets by Slovak Lukas Klein.


The day after surprising Italian Gian Marco Moroni (241st tennis player in the world list) on his way to his first victory at the ATP level, the young Barun was looking for another sensation against Klein, but he did not receive it. He gave everything he had, turning 1:3 into 4:3 in the second set, but Klein (ATP 267) won 6:1, 6:4.


Despite the defeat, the 20-year-old Barun will remember this year's Split Open, where he debuted at the ATP level and achieved his first victory. After the match with Klein, we talked a little with Božo.
First, a little about the match with Klein.

- I got tired from yesterday, I played for two and a half hours. The first set passed quickly, in the second there was a fight. I didn’t serve well, and he played fantastically and deservedly won. However, this was a good experience for me and I want to thank director Moralić for the invitation, but also my family who supports me.


This is just the beginning. How did you experience the victory over Moroni?

- Uh, it was my first ATP victory and the biggest in my career so far. The guy played great, but I was just inside from the first point. It was emotional, I will finally sign up for the ATP list with the first points.


You also played well against Blaž Kavčič at the start of the qualifications of the last tournament, you were leading 4:0.

- Yes, it was my first official ATP match. I won the pre-qualifications and immediately got the No 1 seed. It's tennis. I opened phenomenally, but as soon as I started to calculate a little and play more confidently, he lined up nine games. Blaž is experienced, he has been in the top 100 for years. But I saw that I could play with anyone and that experience changed me a lot.


What are the plans for the future?

- Next weekend, Futures is waiting for me in Šibenik, where I will play the qualifications again, because these points will not be counted yet. Then I have a couple of Futures in BiH and finally two more in Macedonia. I will mostly be here on Balkan.
And what is the goal by the end of the year in terms of ranking?


- I have no idea, honestly. The first two points are here. It should be easier now. Last year, I planned to play as many matches as possible and gather experience, but the Coronavirus has shifted that plan to this year. Next year I will "attack" the results and ranking.


A little about you, where are you from, for how long do you play tennis?

- I am from Kaštel Kambelovac, I have been a member of TC Resnik for 12 years. But I am also often at Firule, at least four days a week. I have been playing tennis since I was five. My father is a coach, and the whole family is in tennis, they go to tournaments with me. This is not an easy sport and family support means a lot.


Lastly, what is your ultimate ambition in your career?

- Win a Grand Slam, Wimbledon. And of course, to be number one, but there is a long way to go - concluded the Barun.
In addition to his rival Klein, Mirza Bašić, Kacper Žuk and Zdenek Kolar also qualified for the Split Open main tournament through qualifications.



ATP CHALLENGER SPLIT OPEN, 2. round of qualifications
Bašić (Bih) – Collarini (Arg, 1) 1:6, 6:3, 6:3
Žuk (Polj, 2) – Lamasine (Fra, 7) 7:6 (4), 6:4
Kolar (Češ, 3) – Viola (Ita, 6) 6:2, 6:4
Klein (Svk, 8) – Barun (Hrv, WC) 6:1, 6:4