Dusan Lajovic was my favourite, and he fulfilled my expectations in the end. It was dramatic, it was interesting, with plenty of reversals that always give that extra spice to matches, and so the audience got even more involved. Balazs could have won the first set, but Lajovic took it, and in the second it looked like Lajovic would wrap it up quickly, but the Hungarian got back in the game.
It was a good tournament and a good ending. I like Lajovic as a player, and this year he’s taken the step forward he was missing. I followed him before as well, I knew how he played, but he never entered the finals at an ATP tournament until this season. However, it was a big step forward when he reached the finals in Monte Carlo, not just in terms of a jump in his rankings, but for his confidence as well, because he saw he could reach very good results against the strongest of competition. He came to Umag prepared, in good shape, and he won the tournament. But the year isn’t over yet, and now he has a good chance to improve his ranking. I’m happy for him because he’s a great lad, he comes to Umag often and he really tries hard.
I’m satisfied with how the tournament went. There were plenty of good matches, and the fact that low-ranking players played the main roles doesn’t change anything – their tennis was very good. Balazs and Caruso went a long way from the qualifications, and I expected more from Fabio Fognini, but not so much from Borna, because after a long break from playing and training, it’s not easy to come back, and he had problems with his neck again before the match. All in all, the tournament was excellent, the crowds were great, I think it fulfilled expectations.
A new edition awaits us next year, and even though it will be during the Olympics, I think it won’t be as big of a challenge or a problem as they’re saying. Umag always finds its own players, its own story. Not everyone will be playing at the Olympics, although it’s clear the best Croatian players won’t be in Umag next year. Despite this, there are sure to be some interesting names and good players, and I’m optimistic.