by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It was the tenth time that the tournament had been staged as either a member of the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series but outside those parameters the Slovenian Open has been organised on a regular annual basis in recent times.
Guiding proceedings time and again in the role of Referee has been Gaj Vidmar, who for more reason than one was delighted with this year’s tournament.
I am happy and proud to be able to say that we have witnessed an interesting and hard fought tournament; yet no incidents or seriously unsporting behaviour in any of the 665 matches.
Another fact which demonstrates that the umpires and referees have performed their duties inconspicuously yet diligently is that there were no noteworthy delays and that each day the matches commenced, proceeded and ended practically exactly in accordance with the schedule.
Furthermore, the athletes have followed the spirit of fair play, especially the Croatian doubles Filip Cipin and Luka Fucec (together with their coach Neven Karkovic), who could have won their match against Sam Walker and Kanak Jha by walk-over due to the absence of the latter at the time their match was scheduled, yet when the English-American pair appeared in the venue an hour later, the Croatians agreed to play the match and lost!
The positive general impression of the tournament is not surprising given the wide experience of Slovenian officials in organising and managing international table tennis events, ranging from the youth categories to the World Championships.
Considering only the Slovenia Open, this is the fifteenth edition in a row (in all of which I have had the privilege of serving as the referee). I am confident that our tradition will continue; my only wish in terms of improvement is that in addition to the millions of table tennis fans following the action online, there will be more live spectators in the playing hall.
Nevertheless, the importance and benefits of this event for Slovenian table tennis are enormous, and speaking on behalf of all the match officials I can say that we are glad to be a piece in the great mosaic of global table tennis.