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banner Tuesday, 10 July, 2001, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Split street party awaits Goran
Young and old enjoyed Goran's triumph on Monday
Young and old enjoyed Goran's triumph on Monday
By BBC News' Nicholas Wood in Split and Croatian journalist Dada Zecic in Zagreb

Over 100,000 people are expected to welcome Goran Ivanisevich, the winner of Monday's Wimbledon final, back to Split on Tuesday evening.

Ivanisevich's incredible victory has dominated the headlines and had the effect of putting a political crisis over the extradition of war criminals to one side.

The sound systems are being set up and already some people are staking positions out on Split's waterfront.

The Wimbledon champion, who flies into Croatia on the private jet of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, is expected to make a dramatic entry into the city, sailing across the bay from the airport to the main harbour.


This was a coincidence sent by providence
  Ivica Racan
Croatian Prime Minister
City officials have invited boat owners to accompany him, creating a huge flotilla. Once ashore, an open-air rock concert will start.

Croatian sports stars are also expected to welcome him, as Ivanisevich's victory has seized the whole country's imagination.

His homecoming is being broadcast live on national television, and newspapers are running headlines such as 'Goran the Genius'.

So significant has the impact of his win been, it's bumped the country's political crisis to one side.

Prime Minister Ivica Racan had been fearing huge street protests at the planned extradition of two Croatian war crimes suspects to The Hague. The protestors have now called those demonstrations off.

Racan told reporters shortly after the match: "This was a coincidence sent by providence."

Ivanisevic's win dominated the Croatian papers
Ivanisevic's win dominated the Croatian papers
With the nation's eyes firmly fixed on sport, the government now appears more hopeful that it can win a vote of confidence in the parliament this coming Sunday.

Tuesday's parliamentary session started with applause for Ivanisevic, and Monday's hectic atmosphere in parliament died down as delegates watched the star finish his game against Australia's Pat Rafter.

After the party in Split, Ivanisevic is due to go to the island of Brac, where the party will continue in a more private atmosphere.

The celebrations in Split, however, are expected to continue through their second night.

Tuesday night's reception will be transmitted live on national radio and television, so all of Croatia will be able to see what is happening in Split.

The mayor of Split promised a party in Goran's birthtown no matter the result, but now Split and Croatia have a real reason to celebrate.

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See also:

10 Jul 01 |  Media reports
Press review: Goran, you genius!
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