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Goran Ivanisevic remained the people’s champion in Croatia, but he was not able to stop the charge of Cedric Pioline who lifted the Novi Classics title.

Pioline won 6-3, 7-6(4) as Ivanisevic struggled to overcome a slight arm injury.

“He hurt his arm which was a shame, but I played well,” said a happy Pioline afterwards.

“I only knew on Sunday night that I was coming here because of Boris withdrawing and I was happy because Goran had told me that it was a nice place. He was right. The tournament is great, the people did a really good job organising it, and I hope it has a long life because it is a place that I like.”

In the 3 rd place play-off, Thomas Muster defeated John McEnroe 6-4, 2-6, 10-5 (on a Champions’ Tie-break) in an ill-tempered affair. McEnroe launched a number of tirades at the umpire, and, just before leaving the court, he delivered a withering assessment of the official’s decision-making skills.

McEnroe won the first event on the Delta Tour of Champions – the European section of the worldwide ATP Champions Tour – when he triumphed in Frankfurt in February. Sergi Bruguera overcame Pat Cash in the Doha final last month, and Goran Ivanisevic also beat Cash a week later in the Hong Kong final. Muster took the first clay court title of the year with victory in Rome in May.

Players compete for points throughout the year to qualify for The Champions Masters at the Royal Albert Hall in London, November 29 – December 4. The top ten players in the Stanford Financial Champions Tour Rankings after all events are complete will qualify automatically. The field in London will increase to 12 with the addition of two wild cards.

To be eligible to compete on the ATP Champions Tour, players must have been either a World No.1 during their competitive playing careers, a Grand Slam singles finalist, or a singles player on a victorious Davis Cup team, and no longer active on the ATP circuit. Each event can also invite two players of its choice to take wild cards.

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