Preview 2023 Croatia Open Umag as former Grand Slam champions aim for resurgence

Another main stop on the European Clay Court calendar is the Croatia Open Umag which will take place between 24-30 July.

It sees many faded Grand Slam champions involved who for multiple troubled the resistance of the Big Three at one time.

TennisUpToDate runs the rule over the key talking points ahead of proceedings starting on Monday in Umag.

Rune out as Wawrinka, Cilic and Thiem headline

The main talking point from the initial Entry List is the absence of Holger Rune. Playing Hopman Cup, he was sick and supposedly injured or feeling some side effects from the illness.

Bed bound similar to Elena Rybakina during Roland Garros, he still played on and was poor in action for Denmark.

He still planned on playing Umag, but his mother Aneke urged him not to and sure enough he withdrew.

That has weakened the field significantly with Jiri Lehecka now the top seed in Umag. A tournament previously won by Jannik Sinner last year defeating Carlos Alcaraz, it has not attracted the same firepower.

Alcaraz won it the year before too but neither will play Umag this year.

Instead it is mainly players on the comeback charge. Home hero, Marin Cilic will play his first tournament since January.

He gets into the US Open based off a protected ranking so albeit on a different surface, he will start his preparation now.

While Stan Wawrinka fresh off winning his first ever doubles title this week in Gstaad will play too. As will Dominic Thiem who lost to Hamad Medjedovic in the second round in Gstaad.

For many it will be a good opportunity with a weakened field to gain form and ahead of the US Open with little playing opportunities outside the main warm-ups, rankings will also help with all three previous champions at Flushing Meadows.

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