Eastern European Championship With Light & Shade

STARNBERG, June 28, 2020

After some rain delays at the beginning of the week, the second week of the Eastern European Championship concluded on a sunny Thursday in Belgrade, Serbia. The six-week exhibition tournament is held at the Tipsarevic Tennis Academy.

Filip Krajinovic, Marko Tepavac, Laslo Djere of Serbia, Fatic Nerman, Mirza Basic and Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia Herzegovina as well as Dimitar Kuzmanov from Bulgaria and Ivan Sabanov of Croatia remained undefeated during the four days.

Ruusuvuori with positive résumé

Finnish young gun Emil Ruusuvuori only won one of his three matches this week but was pleased with his first stay in Serbia’s capital city. “I have been here for two weeks and I have to say that I really enjoyed the time,” Ruusuvuori told the organizers during an Instagram live video on Thursday.

“I will fly back home tomorrow. It was really important to get some matches and the feeling of competition with some really good players. Unfortunately I had some problems with my abdominal this week. We are not sure how bad it is but I couldn’t really serve well.”

The 21-year-old Helsinki native, who captured two ITF World Tennis Tour titles as well as four titles on the ATP Challenger Tour last year, also spoke about the events on the Adria Tour in Zadar, Croatia. “It was really unfortunate. You never wish these kind of things to happen but here everything was well organized. The hotel, the car, the transportation. I felt really safe and I didn’t think it didn’t affect the tournament here at all. I hope I will be back.”

Brkic tests positive for the coronavirus

In the meantime the coronavirus is still spreading within the tennis cosmos. Matej Sabanov of Croatia and Tomislav Brkic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who both competed in the tournament in the past two weeks, have been tested positive for Covid-19 after coming back to their home country. Thirty-year-old Brkic told Eastern European sports channel Sport Klub that he feels fine and is self-isolating.

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“I’ve told the rest of the players that my recommendation is for them to get tested. We at the tournament take them to the Covid clinic. Every male player who competed is not here anymore. I have tested negative four times, all of my staff three times and we will do one more test,” tournament director Janko Tipsarevic told Sport Klub journalist Sasa Ozmo.

Women to step into action, Mladenovic withdraws

Despite the positive tests, Tipsarevic has stressed that he intends to continue holding the event as planned, which is taking place behind closed doors. The European Eastern Championship is heading into its third week on Monday with the women stepping into action on hard court. World No. 91 Danka Kovinic will lead the line-up. The 25-year-old from Montenegro will be joined by Ivana Jorovic of Serbia as well as Viktoriya Tomova and Isabella Shinikova from Bulgaria. A total of 20 women, divided in five groups, will play in a round-robin format.

Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic has officially withdrawn from the tournament due to health concerns.

“I am sorry to announce my withdrawal from the Eastern European tournament. I would like to thank Janko for his invitation. I have no doubt his organization is doing everything to protect the safety of the players but the recent events have shown me that it is not safe yet for me to travel and resume competition,” Mladenovic wrote on her Instagram story.

According to official figures, Serbia has recorded 14,046 cases of COVID-19, including 270 deaths.