Wed 22 Mar 2023

Twenty-four days left before the start of the tennis spectacle in Banjaluka. Although this is the first time the city on the Vrbas River will host a tournament in the ATP World Tour 250 series, Banjaluka does have a long tennis history. However, in addition to the tennis tradition, Banjaluka was also named the European Capital of Sport in Brussels in 2018. This is why:


* In 1926, Radnički sportski klub Borac sport club was founded in Banjaluka


* In 1960, Banjaluka gets its first Olympic gold medal winner, Tomo Knez, one of the best football players of Borac and Banjaluka. Tomo won the Olympic gold with Yugoslav national football team after the team had defeated Denmark 3-1.


* In 1976, Borac Handball Club claimed a historic win when they became European handball champions. In 1991, the handball club from Banjaluka won the IHF Cup but this excellent generation was unable to achieve even more after the outbreak of the war.


* In 1979, Marijan Beneš became the European boxing champion in Banjaluka


* 15 medals from World Championships arrived to Banjaluka whilst athletes from Banjaluka also won 14 medals at the Olympic Games, out of which as many as eight were gold.


* On account of their excellent results, a street in Banjaluka has been named after the Olympic winners and this very street will accommodate the Centre Court of the Srpska Open tennis tournament. The Olympic Arch has been erected at Borik Sports Hall in order to celebrate the achievements of Olympic winners.


* Banjaluka also hosts the Banja Luka Ladies Open as well as the ITF Junior Tennis Tournament


* In 2020, the Museum of Sports, the first museum of its kind in Republika Srpska was opened in Banjaluka. One of the exhibitions include the entire equipment autographed by Novak Đoković, as well as football legend Diego Maradona.


* Robert Dacešin, a Banjaluka native, is a former tennis champ in the category U10, U12, and U14 and later an umpire at tennis matches played by Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Tomáš Berdych and Gaël Monfils. He was also a chair umpire and a line umpire at ATP tournaments played in Doha, Munich, Umag and acted as an umpire at all matches, except Đoković’s matches. Last year, his film was named the best tourist film in the world.