Welcome To Zagreb
Sinisa Bozic & Ian Marshall
Photo by: An Sung Ho
LIEBHERR Croatian Open, Zagreb
The capital city of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb, once again hosts an ITTF Pro Tour tournament with the Liebherr Croatian Open being held in the Zagreb Sports Hall from Wednesday 19 to Saturday 23 January 2005.
Croatia gained independence in 1991 with Zagreb being established as the political and administrative centre for the Republic of Croatia.
Tamara BOROS seeking victory on home soil in Zagreb
An old Central European city, Zagreb lies on the intersection of important routes between the Adriatic coast and Central Europe, for centuries being a focal point of culture and science. Nowadays it is not only a centre of commerce and industry, it is also the hub of the business, academic, cultural, artistic and sporting worlds in Croatia (a university, ten theatres, twenty-one museums, fourteen galleries, twelve art collections).
Many famed scientists, artists and athletes come from the city, or work in it and visitors can enjoy the Baroque atmosphere of the Upper Town, picturesque open-air markets, diverse shopping facilities, an abundant selection of crafts and a choice cuisine. Zagreb is a city of green parks and walks, with many places to visit in the beautiful surroundings. The city enters the third millennium with a population of one million and in spite of the rapid development of the economy and transportation, it has retained its charm and a relaxed feeling that makes it a genuinely human city. Zagreb has a continental climate, the average temperature in winter being one degree centigrade.
Why choose Zagreb as the host city of the Liebherr Croatian Open? It is a city steeped in the traditions of table tennis and as the host of a major international tournament it has two main advantages that no other city can offer. The venue, the Zagreb Sports Hall and the accommodation, the Hotel Panorama are extremely near to each other, in fact they are only one hundred and fifty metres distant.
Home supporters will no doubt be hoping that their leading two players Zoran PRIMORAC and Tamara BOROS can rise to the occasion. However, PRIMORAC has never won an ITTF Pro Tour tournament in Croatia. He has come close but he has never scaled the top step of the medal podium on home soil. Currently ranked number twenty-seven in the World, he didn't play in Slovenia but has prepared in Belgium for the Liebherr Croatian Open.
â€œItâ€™s true that the Croatian Open and myself have never been the best of friendsâ€?, said PRIMORAC. â€œI do not know the real reason but it's hard to play in front your crowd. Iâ€™ve made a good start in 2005; Iâ€™ve beaten the World champion Werner SCHLAGER and I was pleased with my performance against the Olympic winner RYU Seung Min. I think i can play a major role this year, I know I am not one of the favourites, but do not sign off me too early.â€?
Meanwhile, Tamara BOROS won the Womenâ€™s Singles at the Croatian Open in 1999;whilst at the most recent ITTF Pro Tour tournament, the Liebherr Slovenian Open she reached the semi-finals, losing to Hong Kongâ€™s LIN Ling. She is the only European player who is in the top fifteen ranked female players in the World, currently the number four ranked woman.
PRIMORAC and BOROS have both shown over the years that they can compete at the highest levels, they are fine players and undoubtedly a good performance from the countryâ€™s two leading players this week would be welcomed by the organisers of the Liebherr Croatian Open; home success would certainly provide a major boost to the tournament and would certainly attract the media. Can they succeed? Watch this