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No Serbia Open in 2024, but Djokovic is not giving up on hosting a tournament

There probably won’t be an ATP tournament in Belgrade next year, but Novak Djokovic wants to find a way for Belgrade to host a tournament in the near future

Novak Djokovic in Belgrade Novak Djokovic in Belgrade / Imago, Panoramic

The Serbia Open might not be played next year as the lease for the licence is running out, according to world No 1 Novak Djokovic.

Originally held from 2009 to 2012, the Serbia Open came to life again in 2021, when the Hungarian Open, an ATP 250 clay-court tournament hosted in Budapest from 2017-2019, was approved for relocation to Belgrade – under a lease agreement between license owner Ion Tiriac, and new event organisers Tara 2016s, led by tournament director Djordje Djokovic.

Djokovic wants the licence back

As the renovations are ongoing at the Novak Tennis Centre, where the Serbia Open has been held for the past two years, this year’s tournament will be moved to Banja Luka, but its future is unclear.

“First of all, I must say that the licence is not ours. We leased it from its owner Ion Tiriac and now he wants it back,” Djokovic told Sport Klub in Dubai.

“We wanted to buy the licence, to host the tournament in Serbia for many years to come, because we were successful – many people in the stands, ATP gave us excellent grades for all the efforts, but there is not much we can do when the owner doesn’t want to sell the licence. We have to respect that.”

Novak Djokovic at Belgrade in 2021
Novak Djokovic at Belgrade in 2021 © Imago / Panoramic

Still, the tournament organisers are not giving up.

“We are now looking into two different alternatives to get the licence. Either to apply with the ATP for the new licence – which is less likely because there are many tournaments as it is – or to negotiate a lease on another licence. Possibly to even buy that licence, but the prices have gone through the roof and most tournaments are profitable, so it is understandable that they don’t want to sell. Our desire is big, so we will see,“ Djokovic concluded.

Djokovic also said that he plans to play in Banja Luka this year starting 17th April.

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