ATP Umag - History and where to stay

Umag is nestled in the enchanting embrace of Istria's north-west corner where lies a haven of unparalleled beauty, where majestic landscapes meet storied history in a breathtaking display. Umag is accessible by air, road, and sea.

The nearest airport is in Pula, about 85 km away. From there, you can rent a car, take a bus, or use a shuttle service.

ATP Umag, officially named the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, is a renowned tennis tournament held every year.

In 2024, ATP Umag starts July 19th and lasts until July 27th.

Known for its thrilling clay court action and vibrant off-court entertainment, it draws both emerging talents and seasoned champions. This article explores the event’s rich history, celebrated players, and unique experiences both on and off the court.

What makes ATP Umag stand out?

ATP Umag stands out from other tennis tournaments due to its combination of top-level tennis and a variety of off-court entertainment options, such as the Umag Music Nights and the Istria Gourmet Festival, appealing to both sports fans and cultural enthusiasts. This sets it apart from other tournaments and provides a more diverse experience for attendees.

Bathed in the golden glow of the Istrian sun, the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag emerges as a beacon for tennis enthusiasts from around the globe. Here, the qualifier dreams of young aspirants come to life amidst the roars of a captivated audience. 

The ATP Umag tournament’s history is rich with tales of triumph, the account of every match woven into the very fabric of this coastal town. And with each passing year, the event continues to dazzle, bringing together a blend of debut excitement and seasoned rivalry.

At its core, ATP Umag transcends being merely a tennis tournament; it transforms into a cultural phenomenon. This is the platform that has witnessed the former world no. 1 players and Grand Slam champions etch their legacies. 

This is the arena where Croatian talents such as Ivan Ljubičić and Borna Ćorić experienced their initial brush with fame, with 80 percent of all tournament invites extended to local players, nurturing the nation’s sports future. Beyond the court, the appeal of ATP Umag stretches out further, offering a symphony of off-court entertainment that resonates long after the final serve.

The rich tournament history of ATP Umag

Rewind the timeline, and you’ll discover the roots of ATP Umag engraved in the tennis world’s history books. The tournament history speaks volumes, with the clay courts of Umag having borne witness to the ascent of multiple Grand Slam champions and the making of tennis history. Here, the echoes of fierce battles and great performances linger, as the ATP tour’s finest have graced these grounds, leaving behind a legacy of top-quality tennis that continues to inspire a new generation.

With the annual spectacle of the Croatia Open unfolding, the realization that legends like Novak Djokovic once graced these grounds adds to its grandeur. The names that have lifted the coveted trophy here are not just mere entries in a logbook; they are luminaries who have shaped the game itself. This storied tournament is a treasured chapter in the lives of countless tennis players, a chapter where the passion for the sport burns brightest.

Celebrating tennis legends at Croatia Open

The Croatia Open stands as a homage to tennis royalty, where legends of the sport have carved their names into the very clay of Umag’s courts. The storied tournament has been graced by the likes of Stan Wawrinka and Marin Čilić, both multiple Grand Slam champions, who have triumphed here, etching their names in history. This scenario signifies the Croatia Open’s standing in the tennis realm, a place where grand slam titles are both dreamt of and achieved, with each victory bringing players closer to earning a coveted grand slam title.

Beyond the glitter of their trophies, these titans of tennis—Thomas Muster, Carlos Moya, Marcelo Rios, and Juan Carlos Ferrero—have all basked in the glory of victory in Umag. Each match played at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open is a narrative of ambition, skill, and the relentless pursuit of greatness. It is here that the tennis world converges to celebrate its heroes, against the backdrop of the beautiful Adriatic and amidst the sounds of world-famous DJs at Umag Music Nights.

Unparalleled on-court action

With the sunset on the Istrian coast, the ATP Umag courts awaken, brimming with competitive energy. It is here that the tournament devotes special attention to the stars of tomorrow—the #NextGenATP players who are destined for greatness. Phenoms like Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner have showcased their talent here, hinting at future grand slam titles and setting career highs. The tournament has become a crucible for young talents.

In 2021, Carlos Alcaraz made a resounding statement by clinching the title, his game a blend of raw power and youthful exuberance.

The following year witnessed Jannik Sinner ascending to the finals, his determination etched in every stroke, a testament to the great performances that have become synonymous with ATP Umag. It’s a spectacle of sport, where injuries are battled, limits are tested, and legends are born. The tournament’s commitment to showcasing such talents underlines its pivotal role in the tennis world.

Off-court entertainment 

However, the appeal of the ATP Tour event in Umag reaches beyond the clay courts, as the tournament devotes special attention to crafting a holistic event with an array of off-court entertainment. From the event’s music program to the culinary feasts, visitors can enjoy a symphony of experiences that resonate with the spirit of tennis.

Whether it’s the adrenaline-pumping Umag Music Nights or the sophisticated Istria Gourmet Festival, there’s an indulgence for every taste and a reason to celebrate beyond the game’s boundaries.

Istria Gourmet Festival

The Istria Gourmet Festival stands out as one of ATP Umag’s off-court attractions, a culinary odyssey that invites visitors to sample culinary delights showcasing Istria’s rich gastronomic heritage. As the scents and flavors of Michelin-recommended restaurants fill the air, visitors are transported to a world where taste reigns supreme.

The allure lies not just in the food but in the narrative behind each dish, the tradition in every sip of wine. The Taste Istria Zone becomes a melting pot of culture and refinement, where culinary delights are savored, and memories are made.

Splendid nightlife

With nightfall, Umag’s vibrant nightlife beckons visitors to unwind and take pleasure in the electrifying ambiance that enhances the tennis tournament. From the beats of world-renowned DJs to the convivial gatherings in local spots, the town transforms into a bustling hub of celebration. This is the junction where the thrill of sports merges with the vivacity of a party, creating an experience that’s impossible to forget.

The sounds of resident DJ Antonio Pren, Gianluca Vacchi, DJs from Mars and Vida Loca&Inna reverberate through the night, offering hours and hours of musical euphoria that captivate the soul as part of the event’s music program. 

Goran Ivanišević: ambassador and icon

The charismatic former Wimbledon champion, Goran Ivanišević, represents the Croatia Open as an icon and ambassador. His contributions to the tournament include:

  • His historic wildcard win at Wimbledon in 2001, has become the stuff of legend
  • His passion for promoting the Umag tournament
  • Leveraging his connections with other tennis legends to enhance the tournament’s reputation and allure

Ivanišević’s indelible mark on the event is evident, as he continues to make a significant impact on the tournament.

Through exhibitions and personal endorsements, Ivanišević brings a warmth to the tournament that transcends the competitive spirit of the game. His camaraderie with personalities like Andre Agassi embodies not just his legacy, but also the ethos of the Croatia Open—a spirit that celebrates remarkable tennis and the connections it fosters. 

Ivanišević’s contributions form an integral part of the uplifting energy that engulfs the event, making it a beloved stop in the tennis calendar for players and spectators alike.

Memorable moments from past tournaments

The Croatia Open has served as a stage for the enactment of numerous memorable moments, etching themselves into the hearts of tennis fans worldwide. Carlos Alcaraz’s journey to the finals in 2021 is just one of the many stories that have unfolded on the courts of Umag. His meteoric rise at the tournament marked a significant milestone in his career and a harbinger of the greatness to come.

Not to be outdone, Croatian tennis has its own set of indelible memories from ATP Umag. The home crowd had the privilege to witness one of their own, Goran Prpić, lift the trophy in 1990, followed by another victory by Marin Čilić in 2012.

These victories are not just wins but symbols of national pride and testaments to the tournament’s capacity to serve as a crucible for homegrown talent. The diverse match durations, from the brief 61-minute final in 2015 to the epic 170-minute clash in 2008, have added to the tapestry of unforgettable experiences that define the Croatia Open.

Visitor experience and amenities

The Croatia Open takes pride in its meticulous attention to detail, ensuring that every visitor’s experience is nothing short of exceptional. With ticket purchasing made seamlessly accessible both online and at the ticket office, the tournament caters to the convenience of its guests. 

The ticket office, operating from dawn till dusk, ensures that visitors are welcomed with open arms into the ATP Stadium, a bastion of tennis excellence.

The stadium’s amenities are carefully designed, with designated areas for people with disabilities, ensuring that the event is inclusive and enjoyable for all. The guidelines for stadium entry and conduct are clear and comprehensive, making the experience pleasant and hassle-free. From the prohibition of recording devices to the respectful observance of seating arrangements, the tournament’s standards of spectatorship are set high, maintaining an atmosphere of order and enjoyment.

Can visitors with disabilities attend the ATP Umag tournament? Yes, visitors with disabilities can attend the ATP Umag tournament as the ATP Stadium has designated areas for them, but it's recommended to pre-check the suitability of the stadium for specific needs.

Where to stay in Umag?

Where to stay during the ATP tournament? Umag offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. From luxurious villas to cozy apartments, visitors can find the perfect place to stay while enjoying the ATP Umag tournament and exploring the beautiful coastal town.

Apartments and villas

Travelers looking for a more home-like atmosphere can choose from a variety of apartments and villas available for rent.

These accommodations provide the convenience of self-catering facilities and often come with additional perks such as private gardens, terraces, and swimming pools.

Some recommended options include:

  • Apartment Merite: located in the center of the old town of Umag, with sea views.
  • Moela Apartment: apartment with private terrace and BBQ, 100 from the beach in Umag.
  • Villa Milena: luxury stone house with private pool and sea view, 200 meters from the beach.

Final words…

From the pulsating heartbeats on the clay courts to the melodic nights under the starry Istrian sky, the Croatia Open is an embodiment of tennis excellence and cultural vibrancy. The tournament, with its rich history, celebration of legends, and unparalleled on-court action, is a testament to the indomitable spirit of tennis.

It is a gathering that captures the essence of competition, camaraderie, and celebration—a true highlight in the calendar of any tennis aficionado.