STARNBERG, June 21, 2020
The Eastern European Championship is heading into its second week on Monday. The tournament is held at the Tipsarevic Tennis Academy in Belgrade, Serbia. Former World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic came to the idea to launch the event after the ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells had been cancelled in March.
“At that time, I did not even assume that the situation would be such that we would talk about whether the US Open would be played at all. The idea arose for tennis to continue to live as a sport,” Tipsarevic said during a press conference, quoted by SportKlub.
“Our partners from China warned us that the Covid-19 situation is serious, that it would only be a question of time when it will come to Europe. We wanted to find a way to keep tennis alive. As Serbia coped well with the coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic, we expanded our search for players from nearby countries and thanks to my contacts in the world of tennis, 90 percent of players from nearby countries said they wanted to compete. The first week was a success, so we are happy to continue on Monday.”
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When asked if Tipsarevic was satisfied with how everything has worked out so far, the 35-year-old Belgrade native answered: “The players need to feel comfortable and safe and I learned that they are very satisfied. They stay in a hotel and can use an official vehicle for all six weeks. This offer doesn’t depend on the players’ ranking position and they all appreciate it. Of course, we have made a lot of backup plans in case something goes wrong.”
On Wednesday, the governing bodies of professional announced that the tennis season will continue at the beginning of August. The revised calendar will also affect the ongoing exhibition tournaments.
“I was surprised to hear that the US Open would take place, especially with the ongoing pandemic and the protests,” Tipsarevic said and added that the tournament is ready to switch surface from clay to hard court offering the best possible preparation for the players. He also confirmed that matches will be played without spectators.
The four-time champion on the ATP Tour added that there is no plan to grow the Eastern European Championship into a regular tournament.
“I know the owners and directors of the ATP Tour tournaments and I have been in contact with everyone. Even the organization of an ATP 250 tournament is so expensive that it is impossible without the support of the government and the state.”
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Krajinovic to headline second week
World No. 32 Filip Krajinovic, who finished runner-up to Dominic Thiem at the first stage of the Adria Tour held at Novak’s Tennis Complex in Belgrade last weekend, will be one of the top-ranked players in action during the second week of the Eastern European Championship.
“It was a beautiful weekend. It was unforgettable but I’m ready to compete next week,” Krajinovic is looking forward to get back on the court again. The 28-year-old Serbian also spoke about the busy schedule that awaits the players when the season officially resumes.
“We knew there could be a lot of tournaments when the season continues. Seven in a row is physically demanding because the players haven’t played for a long time. But we have time to get ready, we will have a good preparation here.”
When it comes to goals by the end of the season, Krajinovic said: “I would like to stay healthy and play as many tournaments as possible. Plans will change. I would like to play well and win at least one tournament. That was the plan at the beginning. The goal is to get closer to the top, although we don’t know what will happen, how to deal with the ATP ranking points.”
Krajinovic will be joined in his group by Tomislav Jotovski from North Macedonia, Ergi Kirkin of Turkey and 18-year-old Nemanja Malesevic of Bosnia and Herzigovina. Dusan Lajovic, Miomir Kecmanovic and Laslo Djere of Serbia, as well as Sergiy Stakhovsky from the Ukraine, Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finnish young gun Emil Ruusuvuori, Blaz Rola from Slovenia and Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania will also be part of the line-up competing in the eight main draw round-robin groups.