The Serbia Open took place between 2009-2012, with Novak Djokovic buying the license and staging the event at his tennis center in Belgrade. After five editions, the Serbian capital stayed without an ATP event for nine years, with all that changing in two weeks with the sixth edition of the Serbia Open between April 19-25.
Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem are the players to beat, followed by more notable competitors who picked Belgrade instead of Barcelona. The tournament director Djordje Djokovic has big plans for the Serbia Open, saying they will do their best to earn the ATP 500 status within the following five years.
Also, Djordje will try to gather more money for the next year's edition and invite Roger Federer to come to Belgrade and compete. After everything that Srdjan Djokovic, Novak's and Dordje's father, said about Roger, it is highly unlikely that the Swiss star will accept the invitation.
Still, Djordje will do his best to bring the legend to Belgrade before he retires.
Djordje Djokovic will try to bring Roger Federer to Serbia Open in 2022.
"Our real opportunity for the Serbia Open came last October; we bought a five-year license from Budapest, as we get along nicely with Ion Tiriac.
We agreed in December, and the Serbia Open was reborn. We have big goals and would love to become an ATP 500 series tournament. If we succeed, then we will buy that license. We looked for a week in the calendar with the best odds of becoming an ATP 500 series event.
Barcelona is indeed held in the same week, but it would not be the first case with two ATP 500 events in the same week. We are proud that we could secure big prize money for our tournament, with €650,000. The players are our ambassadors, and we have to take care of them.
Big prize money was one of my priorities to attract the players and fulfill the ATP's expectations. We want to show to ourselves and everyone else that we are ready for a 500 series tournament. I asked Novak not to be involved with the organization, as we want to treat him like all the other players.
I want him to enjoy and behave like a player. Of course, he was involved in gaining the license, and he is enthusiastic about the event. I will surprise even him with some of the things we have in store for the players. We have not invited Roger this year because we had to consider our budget; we could not afford to spend all of our money on one player.
We had to distribute money the other way, to spread it, but we hope to see Federer in Belgrade in the coming years. It is my sincere hope that we will be able to host him at least once before he ends his career. We will invite him next year; I can promise that," Djordje Djokovic said.