The iconic Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters just came to an end, and Wall Street Luxury Europe had the pleasure to talk with the director of this prestigious tournament, Zeljko Franulovic.
It is a pleasure to meet you Zeljko, can I ask you to tell us something about yourself and your professional career?
I started my professional career as a tennis player. In the 70s and 80s I was in the top 10, with a total of 9 ATP victories, including Monte-Carlo in 1970. Until the 90s ATP only had a small office in Paris and because the players organization was getting more important, I was called to run the European Head Office which we decided to set-up in the Principality of Monaco. During my ATP career I served as a Board member, Executive Director for Europe and Tournament Director of the ATP Finals in Frankfurt, Hannover and Lisbon. In 2005 I became Director of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
How would you describe the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and what makes Monaco such a special destination?
There are no other tournaments like Monte-Carlo. It is a historic event with a prestigious trophy the Prince’s Cup that is coveted by all players. There is a tradition and heritage that come with this destination – we just held the 115th edition. Moreover, even if the venue is relatively small and we maximized every single square meter, we put a lot of efforts to build a kids zone that we also use as a tennis platform to inspire the younger generations. The overall atmosphere is very special here and the sight overlooking the sea is spectacular.
The 2022 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters came to an end with Tsitsipas’ victory. What can you tell us about this edition and how was to see the audience back for the first time after the pandemic?
After two years of pandemic, 2022 was a big relief. In 2020 the tournament was cancelled and in 2021 was organized behind closed doors. Until mid-March 2022 we were not completely sure how many people could actually attend but on the 14th of March the good news arrived: there was no more need for vaccination or testing (last year each player had to get tested every second day) and finally, we could run our event at full capacity. This allowed us to sell almost all our tickets and to host more than 132.500 spectators (more or less like in 2019). The atmosphere was festive again and Tsitsipas’ victory was the icing on the cake, he is a spectacular player, indeed.