ZAGREB, 14 September 2019 – A number of stars have been honoured at the first night of Croatian tennis which was held at Hotel Westin in Zagreb last night.
Most of Croatia’s best male and female players, as well as past stars of the sport and other personalities had gathered for the event organised by the Croatian Tennis Association.
After opening speeches, the night begun with an emotive film highlighting the successes of Croatian tennis over the years. Next, a number of awards were then handed out, including the Lifetime Achievement Award – Punčec – Palada which was awarded to Nikola Pilić, one of the best Croatian players and coaches of all-time.
Pilić enjoyed an a great career in the 1960s and 1970s, and at one stage was ranked 6th in the world with 10 titles. In 1973 he was a French Open finalist in 1973 and in 1970 he claimed the US Open doubles title.
At the end of this playing career he turned to coaching and become one of the game’s most respected experts, working with some of the biggest names in tennis. As a coach, Pilić won the Davis Cup with three different countries – Germany (3x), Croatia (1) and Serbia (1).
There were also special awards on the night handed out to Marin Čilić for his Grand Slam win ((US Open 2014) and for winning the Davis Cup (2018).
Also, Ivan Dodig for his four Grand Slam titles in doubles (French Openu2015, mixed doubles at the French Open 2018, 2019 and mixed doubles, Wimbledon 2019), as well as the Davis Cup (2018), Mate Pavić for his three Grand Slam wins in doubles (mixed doubles US Open 2016, doubles and mixed doubles Australian Open 2018), also the Davis Cup (2018) and to Borna Ćorić, Nikola Mektić, Franko Škugor, Viktor Galović and coach Željko Krajan for winning the Davis Cup.
Mirjana Lučić was awarded for winning the Australian Open doubles in 1998, and Iva Majoli for her French Open win in 1997.
Goran Prpić was awarded for his bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, Goran Ivanišević for his bronze medal also at the same Olympics and for winning the Davis Cup in 2005 and Wimbledon in 2001.
Ivana Ljubičić also picked up an award, as did Mario Ančić and Ivo Karlović for the Davis Cup win in 2005. Ančić also won bronze at the Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens. A posthumous award was given to Dragutin Mitić for winning the mixed doubles at the French Open in 1938.
All proceeds from the night of Croatian tennis went to a fund for developing young tennis players in the country.