The Flag of Serbia with a tennis net and ball in front of it

The Serbia Open: Everything You Need to Know


The Serbia Open was an ATP World Tour 250 series men’s tennis tournament. Held for the first time in 2009, the event was played on outdoor clay courts in Belgrade, Serbia. In 2009, the event ran from the 4th to the 10th of May. In subsequent years, the tournament has commenced on a similar date. As Serbia had never hosted an Association of Tennis Professionals or a Women’s Tennis Association tournament before, the event was a first for the country and put Serbia on the sporting map.

Who Set it Up?

Serbia Open was set up by the family of Novak Djokovic, who still own the tournament today. Through their company, Family Sport, the Djokovic’s purchased the ATP Tour date in 2008 from the organisers of the Dutch Open. Shortly after, they conversed with the Belgrade authorities and purchased a plot of land to build the venue. Additionally, they convinced the Serbia prime minister, Mirko Cvetković to back the event through the state-owned enterprise, Telekom Srbija. When the Djokovic family set up the tournament, Novak Djokovic was deemed the third best player in the world after winning the Grand Slam title earlier that year. During its course, Djokovic won Serbia Open twice, in 2009 and 2011. Each member of the Djokovic family had a different role in the tournament, with Novak’s uncle Goran taking on the role of director. He continued to direct the tournament until he resigned in 2012, shortly after the 2012 competition ended.

Who is Novak Djokovic?

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player. Currently, the sportsman is ranked No. 1 (January 2019) in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He, along with female tennis players Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, have turned Serbia into one of the leading tennis nations in the world. Over the past few seasons, the Serbian players have excelled in their sport and turned Serbia into a leading tennis nation.

Over his career, Djokovic has won thirty-two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series titles, fourteen Grand Slam titles, five ATP Finals titles, and twelve ATP World Tour 5000 titles. In terms of major tennis tournaments, he has won:

  • 4 Wimbledon titles
  • 6 Australian Open titles
  • 3 US Open titles
  • 1 French Open title

Shortly after his victory at the French Open, Djokovic was crowned the eighth player in history to achieve the Career Grand Slam. He also became the third man to hold the four major titles simultaneously.

Djokovic has won numerous awards including the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year in 2012, 2015, and 2016. In 2011, he bagged the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Award and was the recipient of the Order of Karadorde’s Star, the Order of St. Sava, and the Order of the Republika Srpska.

Why are the Current Serbian Players So Successful?

Since the success of Djokovic, other Serbian tennis players have been climbing the ranks. According to Djokovic, the reasons for their success can be traced back to 1999. At this time, NATO planes bombed Belgrade just before Slobodan Milosevic was removed as president. At just 12 years old, Djokovic was kept home from school because of the dangerous situation. Consequently, Serbian youngsters had hours of free time to practice tennis and other sports. Djokovic explained that other top players including Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic,  and Tipsarevic all went through the same situation.

“I think it is a question that has been raised and asked to all of us, for last two, three years, how come you are coming from such a small country with so many problems and you still managed to become top players you know,”

Additionally, Djokovic says that bonds formed during the bombings have given Serbian players a sense of community and purpose.

“As a small country we got united in those critical times and we supported each other and right now that the country is prospering and it has turned its intentions towards the West and I am happy with the situation as it is now,” he added.

Past Winners

Winning the tournament in 2012, Andreas Seppi was the event’s last singles champion. However, the competition has seen a host of other winners over the years. In 2009, tournament owner Novak Djokovic became champion, followed by Poland’s Łukasz Kubot as runner-up. In 2010, the winner was United States Sam Querrey, followed by United States John Isner in second place. Novak Djokovic secured first place once more in the 2011 edition, followed by Spain’s Feliciano López.

The first winners of the doubles competition were Poland’s Łukasz Kubot and Austria’s Oliver Marach, with Sweden’s Johan Brunström and Netherlands Antilles Jean-Julien Rojer securing second place. In 2010, Mexico’s Santiago González and United States Travis Rettenmaier won first place, while Poland’s Tomasz Bednarek and Mateusz Kowalczyk finished just behind. The champions of the 2011 edition were Czech Republic’s František Čermák and Slovakia’s Filip Polášek. That year, Austria’s Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya came in second. The last doubles winners were Israel’s Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram, winning first place in 2012.

Singles

Year Champion Runner-up Score
2009  Novak Djokovic  Łukasz Kubot 6–3, 7–6(7–0)
2010  Sam Querrey  John Isner 3–6, 7–6(7–4), 6–4
2011  Novak Djokovic  Feliciano López 7–6(7–4), 6–2
2012  Andreas Seppi  Benoît Paire 6–3, 6–2

Doubles

Year Champions Runners-up Score
2009  ŁukaszKubot
Oliver Marach
 Johan Brunström
Jean-Julien Rojer
6–2, 7–6(7–3)
2010  Santiago González
Travis Rettenmaier
 Tomasz Bednarek
Mateusz Kowalczyk
7–6(8–6), 6–1
2011  František Čermák
Filip Polášek
 Oliver Marach
Alexander Peya
7–5, 6–2
2012  Jonathan Erlich
Andy Ram
 Martin Emmrich
Andreas Siljeström
4–6, 6–2, [10–6]

Results

2009

Round 1 Result
J. Tipsarevic – S. Roitman 2:0 (7 : 5) (6 : 2)
V. Crivoi – I. Ljubicic 1:2 (6 : 7) (6 : 3) (4 : 6)
L. Kubot – A. Zlatanovic 2:0 (6 : 3) (7 : 5)
K. Vliegen – D. Hrbaty 2:1 (2 : 6) (6 : 2) (6 : 2)
S. Querrey – V. Troicki 1:2 (6 : 4) (4 : 6) (3 : 6)
F. Krajinovic – M. Granollers 1:2 (0 : 6) (6 : 2) (2 : 6)
A. Clement – S. Ventura 2:0 (6 : 1) (6 : 4)
M. Daniel – G. Canas 2:1 (3 : 6) (6 : 1) (6 : 4)
C. Rochus – N. Devilder 2:1 (6 : 3) (6 : 7) (7 : 5)
Round 2
B. Dabul – I. Karlovic 0:2 (4 : 6) (6 : 7)
A. Clement – F. Cipolla 1:2 (6 : 1) (4 : 6) (2 : 6)
M. Daniel – I. Ljubicic 2:0 (6 : 4) (6 : 3)
A. Seppi – L. Mayer 2:0 (6 : 4) (6 : 1)
N. Djokovic – J. Tipsarevic 2:1 (6 : 2) (4 : 6) (6 : 0)
M. Granollers – V. Troicki 0:2 (3 : 6) (4 : 6)
C. Rochus – K. Vliegen 1:2 (6 : 3) (4 : 6) (3 : 6)
L. Kubot – I. Andreev 1:0 (3 : 2)
W. Odesnik – L. Mayer 0:2 (3 : 6) (2 : 6)
B. Dabul – N. Massu 2:0 (6 : 2) (6 : 1)
F. Cipolla – M. Baghdatis 2:1 (1 : 6) (6 : 3) (6 : 1)
Quarter Finals
N. Djokovic – V. Troicki 2:0 (6 : 3) (6 : 2)
A. Seppi – M. Daniel 2:0 (6 : 4) (7 : 5)
F. Cipolla – I. Karlovic 0:2 (3 : 6) (3 : 6)
K. Vliegen – L. Kubot 0:2 (6 : 7) (3 : 6)
Semi Finals
N. Djokovic – A. Seppi 2:1 (4 : 6) (6 : 1) (6 : 2)
L. Kubot – I. Karlovic 2:0 (7 : 6) (6 : 2)
Final
N. Djokovic – L. Kubot 2:0 (6 : 3) (7 : 6)

2010

Round 1 Result
H. Zeballos – J. Tipsarevic 2:1 (2 : 6) (6 : 4) (7 : 6)
H. Zeballos – P. Polansky 2:1 (2 : 6) (6 : 4) (7 : 6)
M. Djokovic – A. Dimauro 1:2 (7 : 6) (5 : 7) (0 : 6)
A. Seppi – L. Mayer 2:1 (2 : 6) (6 : 1) (6 : 4)
E. Donskoy – F. Krajinovic 1:2 (7 : 5) (6 : 7) (1 : 6)
F. Fognini – F. Skugor 2:0 (6 : 3) (6 : 1)
O. Rochus – R. Gasquet 0:2 (0 : 6) (1 : 6)
F. Cipolla – J. Ouanna 0:2 (3 : 6) (1 : 6)
V. Troicki – I. Navarro 2:0 (6 : 4) (6 : 0)
D. Lajovic – I. Karlovic 0:2 (6 : 7) (4 : 6)
E. Korolev – M. Russell 2:0 (6 : 1) (6 : 0)
I. Andreev – B. Kavcic 2:0 (6 : 3) (6 : 2)
K. Beck – F. Serra 0:2 (3 : 6) (3 : 6)
Round 2
N. Djokovic – F. Fognini 2:0 (6 : 4) (6 : 4)
F. Krajinovic – H. Zeballos 2:1 (6 : 3) (1 : 6) (7 : 6)
J. Ouanna – J. Isner 0:2 (2 : 6) (4 : 6)
A. Seppi – R. Gasquet 1:2 (6 : 4) (2 : 6) (5 : 7)
V. Troicki – F. Serra 2:0 (6 : 0) (6 : 1)
A. Dimauro – S. Wawrinka 0:2 (1 : 6) (4 : 6)
S. Querrey – E. Korolev 2:0 (6 : 3) (6 : 4)
I. Andreev – I. Karlovic 2:0 (6 : 4) (7 : 5)
Quarter Finals
N. Djokovic – F. Krajinovic 0:1 (4 : 6)
S. Querrey – I. Andreev 2:1 (6 : 3) (2 : 6) (6 : 4)
V. Troicki – S. Wawrinka 1:2 (5 : 7) (7 : 6) (6 : 7)
R. Gasquet – J. Isner 1:2 (6 : 2) (6 : 7) (3 : 6)
Semi Finals
F. Krajinovic – S. Querrey 0:2 (1 : 6) (2 : 6)
S. Wawrinka – J. Isner 0:2 (5 : 7) (5 : 7)
Final
S. Querrey – J. Isner 2:1 (3 : 6) (7 : 6) (6 : 4)

2011

Round 1 Result
F. Volandri – D. Lajovic 2:0 (6 : 1) (6 : 4)
R. Mello – J. Isner 2:0 (6 : 4) (7 : 6)
M. Granollers – F. Skugor 2:0 (7 : 5) (6 : 1)
F. Gonzalez – M. Klizan 2:0 (6 : 2) (6 : 4)
A. Peya – M. Berrer 1:2 (6 : 4) (3 : 6) (4 : 6)
J. Monaco – F. Lopez 0:2 (4 : 6) (5 : 7)
A. Ungur – R. Ramirez Hidalgo 2:1 (6 : 7) (6 : 3) (6 : 4)
M. Kukushkin – S. Dev Varman 1:2 (6 : 1) (4 : 6) (2 : 6)
E. Gulbis – I. Marchenko 0:2 (2 : 6) (4 : 6)
K. Nishikori – J. Tipsarevic 1:2 (6 : 2) (2 : 6) (6 : 7)
M. Zverev – D. Sela 2:1 (7 : 6) (3 : 6) (6 : 3)
T. Kamke – B. Kavcic 0:2 (6 : 7) (1 : 6)
Round 2
M. Granollers – V. Troicki 2:0 (6 : 2) (6 : 3)
M. Zverev – J. Tipsarevic 0:2 (2 : 6) (0 : 6)
I. Marchenko – F. Volandri 1:2 (3 : 6) (6 : 1) (3 : 6)
G. Garcia-Lopez – S. Dev Varman 1:2 (6 : 7) (6 : 2) (6 : 7)
N. Djokovic – A. Ungur 2:0 (6 : 2) (6 : 3)
F. Lopez – F. Gonzalez 2:0 (6 : 4) (7 : 6)
M. Berrer – A. Montanes 1:2 (6 : 3) (2 : 6) (2 : 6)
B. Kavcic – R. Mello 2:0 (7 : 5) (6 : 3)
Quarter Finals
N. Djokovic – B. Kavcic 2:0 (6 : 3) (6 : 2)
S. Dev Varman – J. Tipsarevic 1:2 (3 : 6) (6 : 3) (4 : 6)
F. Volandri – M. Granollers 2:0 (6 : 2) (6 : 4)
F. Lopez – A. Montanes 2:0 (6 : 4) (6 : 4)
Semi Finals
N. Djokovic – J. Tipsarevic
F. Lopez – F. Volandri 2:0 (7 : 6) (6 : 2)
Final
N. Djokovic – F. Lopez 2:0 (7 : 6) (6 : 2)

2012

Round 1 Result
L. Rosol – L. Kubot 2:0 (7 : 5) (6 : 2)
B. Kavcic – A. Veic 0:2 (1 : 6) (1 : 6)
B. Paire – F. Fognini 2:0 (6 : 1) (6 : 4)
G. Garcia-Lopez – I. Kunitsyn 2:1 (7 : 6) (6 : 7) (6 : 2)
E. Schwank – D. Sela 2:0 (6 : 2) (7 : 6)
R. Harrison – J. Souza 0:2 (3 : 6) (3 : 6)
V. Hanescu – C. Gomez-Herrera 2:1 (6 : 2) (5 : 7) (6 : 3)
A. Bedene – M. Klizan 2:0 (6 : 4) (7 : 6)
G. Muller – L. Lacko 2:1 (6 : 0) (4 : 6) (6 : 3)
F. Volandri – M. Djokovic 2:0 (6 : 3) (6 : 1)
E. Donskoy – D. Lajovic 0:2 (5 : 7) (4 : 6)
I. Dodig – A. Ungur 2:1 (6 : 2) (6 : 7) (6 : 4)
Round 2
V. Hanescu – L. Rosol 0:2 (6 : 7) (3 : 6)
G. Garcia-Lopez – B. Paire 1:2 (6 : 4) (5 : 7) (5 : 7)
P. Andujar – F. Volandri 2:1 (4 : 6) (7 : 5) (6 : 2)
A. Bedene – D. Nalbandian 0:2 (4 : 6) (3 : 6)
G. Muller – E. Schwank 2:0 (6 : 3) (7 : 6)
J. Souza – D. Lajovic 1:0 (4 : 2)
I. Dodig – A. Seppi 0:2 (4 : 6) (2 : 6)
Quarter Finals
J. Souza – D. Nalbandian 0:2 (3 : 6) (2 : 6)
G. Muller – A. Seppi 0:2 (4 : 6) (3 : 6)
J. Nieminen – B. Paire 1:2 (6 : 0) (2 : 6) (5 : 7)
P. Andujar – L. Rosol 2:0 (6 : 4) (6 : 3)
J. Nieminen – A. Veic 2:1 (6 : 3) (4 : 6) (6 : 3)
Semi Finals
D. Nalbandian – A. Seppi 1:2 (6 : 2) (2 : 6) (5 : 7)
P. Andujar – B. Paire 1:2 (3 : 6) (6 : 1) (3 : 6)
Final
B. Paire – A. Seppi 0:2 (3 : 6) (2 : 6)

What Happened?

During it’s running, Serbia Open was a popular competition that saw a host of world-class names. However, in 2013 the tournament was replaced on the ATP schedule by the Power Horse Cup in Düsseldorf. According to reliable sources, the tournament failed to attract major sponsors or top players. In the 2012 edition, even Djokovic himself failed to attend, along with other top Serbian players. Family Sport, the organisers of the tournament, said that cancelling the event was the most rational decision considering the circumstances.

Although Serbia Open may have run its course, Novak Djokovic remains a top tennis player. In fact, the sportsman is currently ranked No. 1 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals.

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