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Krusič: The external contractors worked extremely hard on Republic Square, but they ran out of time



The tournament director was very satisfied with the visit to both venues

The director of the Tennis Association of Slovenia, Gregor Krušič, had a very busy week. The Zavarovalnica Sava tournament was held at two locations in Ljubljana. In Tivoli, everything went according to plan, but the central court on Trg Republike was not properly prepared.

According to the original schedule of the tournament, qualifications and doubles matches were to take place in Tivoli, while all the most interesting matches were to take place on Republic Square. From Monday to Friday, four matches per day were planned, but they were not carried out. After several days of complications due to an inadequate surface on the center court of Mima Jaušovec, strict WTA supervisor Mariana Alves only gave the green light for the move to Trg republike on Friday.

In Saturday’s semi-final, holes appeared quickly, so that the maintenance staff had to repair them right between the points. Tamara Zidanšek she did not find herself in very demanding conditions. A Turkish woman Zeynep Sonmez she beat her reliably, but in the final she completely gave up in the opening set and lost against Marina Bassols Ribera with 0:6 and 6:7.

The stands in the Mime Jaušovec arena on Trg republike were full on Sunday afternoon.  Photo: www.alesfevzer.com

The final showdown took place against a beautiful backdrop. Spectators filled the central arena on Republic Square. They were enjoying the sun, but the groundskeeper had a lot more work to do, who ended up getting a big one applause.

Tournament director Krušič was worried on Saturday: “We wanted to do something special, unique, but unfortunately we couldn’t do it. Due to moving from one location to another, we ran out of time to consolidate the playground. No one knows exactly what the real reason is, but the fact is that we didn’t execute the case as well as we should have. After the tournament, there will be time for analysis, but there is certainly no fear that Slovenia will remain without a WTA tournament in the future.”

After Sunday’s final, he was already in a much better mood, although visibly tired, as he really had a lot of work to do in the past week. Speaking to MMC, he emphasized that there is also the possibility of organizing a 250 series tournament, which would attract much more famous names. He is most proud of the performances of eight Slovenian women in the main draw of the tournament.

How satisfied are you with the WTA 125 series tournament in Ljubljana? What will still need to be improved?We invested a lot of effort, knowledge and time in the organization of the event. We have been preparing this project for the last two or three months, even more than ten hours a day. I can say that we have been preparing for the tournament all year. We are very satisfied with the recognition of the tournament. I am extremely happy that we gave the opportunity to play in the main tournament to as many as eight Slovenian women, two younger tennis players appeared in the qualifications. This is a great rarity.

We had a little more work to do with the playground at Trg republike. We worked intensively on it all week and got it ready for the last two days. I think it worked really well in the final.

We met you several times at the ATP Series 250 tournament in Umag. The matches take place mainly in the evening and drag on late into the night, when the stadium is nicely filled. You started the program at 10:30 a.m., when most people are still at work and school. Could this be changed? The tournament in Umag has been held for 33 years. It is organized by a private owner and that is a very big difference. The Zavarovalnica Sava tournament is organized by Tenis Slovenija and there is no private capital involved. As a result, the prize pool of the tournament is seven to ten times lower. There are many more accompanying events in Umag. We started the journey. This is the third year we have organized the WTA series tournament.

We all felt great at Republic Square, we satisfied the spectators. It would definitely be a dream story if we could also have evening matches, but we are limited by the light. All matches must end by 19:00. If we wanted to get the tournament under the roof, we had to start early. If we had floodlights, the tournament could be held in the evening hours. This would bring new additional costs in the organization of the tournament.

You have planned four matches a day at Republic Square, which is a truly unique venue. In the end, you only played the semifinals and finals on this court, and the players complained about the poor condition of the sand court. It’s really a beautiful environment in Republic Square, all these flags next to the parliament and also other tall buildings give a very special feeling. It was our goal to take it a step further. We did everything we could.

Tennis Slovenia does not have experts for tennis court preparation. We hired external contractors who worked extremely hard, persisted, days and nights they worked and prepared it for the game on Saturday and Sunday. I think this is a success. It was a great weekend visit in Ljubljana. In Portorož, the spectators came only for the decisive matches. If everything went according to plan, the arena would be Mime Jaušovec full other days too.

An agreement is now close in Portorož that the playgrounds will be available again in ŠRC Marina. Will the tournament return to Portorož next year or will it take place on the well-maintained court at Trg Republike?I don’t know what the ownership situation is in Portorož. We are not dealing with this at the moment. We fully devoted ourselves to the tournament in Ljubljana. Let’s wait for the outcome in Portorož, and then more will be known.

You organized the WTA Series 250 tournament in Portorož. Last year, Wimbledon winner Jelena came Fishermanas well as former US Open winner Emma in New York Raducan. What is the chance of the tournament going to a higher level again?We organize a tournament for Slovenian players. The key is that Kaja Juvan, Tamara Zidanšek, Ela Nala Milić and others come. I won’t say that it means nothing to us if they come Fisherman and Raducan.

We will continue our efforts to regain the tournament with a prize pool of US$250,000. The first year we got a tournament of this level just because it is covid-19 prevented the organization of many other 250 series tournaments this term. Last year, the story was an image, as all tournaments in China were cancelled. We take advantage of every opportunity and we got two 250 series tournaments.

This year the situation has normalized. 31 license holders for 250 series tournaments confirmed the organization and we no longer had the opportunity to host a tournament of this level. Series 125 is always available. I still see possibilities for the 250 series tournament as well.

The tournament is scheduled for mid-September, right after the end of the US Open. Is this the best time?This term suits us, as people return from vacations. We will probably stay in this week next year as well.

Are you satisfied with your visit? Entry to Tivoli was free and the stands were already full in the morning. During the week, the visit was better than in Portorož. Ljubljana is the center of Slovenia and is much more easily accessible for everyone. The grandstands and stands were full, at the same time the Davis Cup match between Slovenia and Luxembourg was taking place. There were a lot of spectators in Tivoli. The stands were full on both days at Republic Square.

Ljubljana is definitely more convenient and this will be one of the key arguments when we decide where the tournament will be held in the following years.

Source: Rtvslo

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