The third edition of the ATP Challenger Split Open, which starts on Monday, April 12th, was announced at a press conference on the terrace of the Firule Tennis Center. Tournament director, Ismar Moralić, said that this week's tournament, which is still in progress, is going great, and he revealed that three invitations for the main tournament go to our tennis players Borna Gojo, Duje Ajduković and Nino Serdarušić.
- The first tournament takes 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 on Covid-19.
- This is the key 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.
Like this week, Duje Ajduković and Nino Serdarušić will receive two invitations for the main tournament, and Borna Gojo, who skipped the first tournament due to a back injury, will receive the third.
- 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 the 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's one.
- "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”, revealed since when he has had back problems.
- It started in Australia when I was quarantined for 14 days. The day after I went out I played with Popyrin and have been having those problems ever since. It's not going very fast. I expect to win every tournament, as well as 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 me and Duje. Home always gives you a special feeling. From what I hear from other tennis players, the impressions are positive. They are satisfied with the club, the organization, the accommodation - said Gojo.
Ajduković, on the other hand, hopes for a better result than this week when he was eliminated in the second round. First of all, he’s happy to be able to play at all, given that he recently got over the Coronavirus.
- Against Brown, the fight and effort brought me back to the match, and against Rola, I chose the wrong tactics and after that, it was difficult to come back. I had a Coronavirus, 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 was going to perform, so these two matches are good for upgrading my performance. I am definitely going to be better next week - said Ajduković.
Serdarušić also dropped out in the second round, but that is a shift compared to last year when he was stopped at the first hurdle in Split. Maybe now is the time for the quarterfinals, at least.
- Thanks to the director for the invitation, it's great that we have three Croats in the main tournament. For me, this week was positive because I didn't really play this year. I also went through the Coronavirus 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 state every week, and now we’re home for two weeks. These conditions on Firule can only be compared to Monte Carlo, that courts are immediately at sea.
The draw for qualifiers, singles tournaments and doubles tournaments is scheduled for Saturday, and for the end, the director Ismar Moralić said:
- I hope that we will have at least one Croat in the final. Borna, Duje and Nino will have to agree on who of the three it will be!