UMAG, July 16, 2016
At the opening of the Konzum Croatia Open Umag, Goran Ivanišević, Andre Agassi and Juan Carlos Ferrero, the three athletes that have made tennis history, will play in a big exhibition match on Saturday evening. It will be an opportunity to remind the fans of their days of fame and the on-court show they used to put on, and we are confident they will put on one today as well.
Following their arrival in Umag, the tennis legends were received at the City Hall by the Mayor Vili Bassanese, who presented them with a few gifts as a token of appreciation. Afterwards, the players were joined by Istraturist director and chairman of the tournament’s Organizing Committee Ronald Korotaj, and tournament director Lawrence Frankopan, and announced this evening’s event.
“Welcome to Umag. I am happy I can greet you here again. You will see all the improvements that we have made as compared to last year – we have really made an effort here. The top-quality event that will kick start our tournament is an exhibition match between these three guys here who have definitely retired too early. We are proud of what awaits us,” Ronald Korotaj said.
Goran Ivanišević will play host to both Agassi and Ferrero and he admitted he didn’t have an easy task ahead of him.
“Being a host to Andre and Juan Carlos won’t be easy since we all know how big the two of them are, they really don’t need to be specially introduced. It is a great honor to have them here and hopefully we will be able to show you a few tricks this evening,” Goran Ivanišević stated and added: “It’s equally hard to play a professional match, in which you’re playing for the result, and play an exhibition match. When you’re in a ‘real’ match, you have to prepare well for it, then chase the result, and then deal with the criticism if you’ve failed. In a way, this is even more difficult, this is more than just tennis. You want to play but you also want to entertain people. You want them to leave satisfied and to come again to this tournament that has become one of the favorite tournaments on the ATP Tour. It will be difficult to top the things that we have prepared for you this year but we will do our best.”
This is Andre Agassi’s first time in Croatia but he loved Umag at first glance.
“I didn’t know what to expect before I arrived here. I knew I was coming to a country of successful people and the home of a Wimbledon champion. But now I see it’s really beautiful here,” he said at the very beginning.
“Because of the state my body is in, I don’t have much I can offer tennis anymore but Goran has been a good friend of mine for a long time now and I just had to come. I am really honored to be here. When I see how beautiful it is, I feel sorry I never played here when I was a professional player,” Andre Agassi concluded.
Unlike Agassi, Juan Carlos Ferrero made Umag history when he won it back in 2010. “I have some very good but also some very sad memories of Umag but I have always had a very good time here. Everyone is so nice. This is a family tournament and it’s always great to be back,” Juan Carlos Ferrero told.
Tournament director Lawrence Frankopan thanked everyone for coming and said: “Nobody really knows what it means to have three such great players here and how challenging that is. That is why I would like to thank them for finding the time and coming here. I would also like to thank Istraturist and the entire organization as this wouldn’t have been possible without them.”