Quick Hits on Attending a Tennis Tournament

  1. Be sure to spend a decent amount of time at the practice courts.  A lot of the best fan access and insights into how well ATP and WTA players hit the ball is to be had on the practice courts.  Not every practice session is as unique as Bartoli’s, but the practice courts are the highlight for me.
  2. Take in the carnival atmosphere of the tournament.
  3. Remember the early rounds are often better for fans (and less expensive) because you see more players on the practice courts and of course playing matches than during a final weekend.  Also, most side courts, even a grand stand, allow for fans to get quite a bit closer to the action than a center courts allows.  The lines of sight at a lot of center courts preclude a full appreciation of the spins and pace professional players utilize.
  4. Do some people watching while at tennis events.  There are a lot of fanatics among tennis fans.  I have seen groups of fans who made up their own t-shirts (i.e. a group of young women in 2008 wore homemade Spanish Armada shirts).  There are fans who make huge treks to see their favorite player in person.  In fact, I think the commitment of many tennis fans goes beyond that found in most sports.  Finally, tennis fans represent a wider cultural mix than is found in most cities or regions.  The number of accents and languages one hears at a tennis event is impressive and to my mind fun.
  5. DO NOT spend all of your time standing by the players’ lounge to get autographs.  Everyone has a choice on how and where to spend one’s time at a tennis tournament.  However, I have a hard time understanding buying a ticket and then spending hours standing in one spot hoping to get an autograph.  There is a lot to see at tennis events.  If one wants autographs, try to get them at the practice courts.

Wouldn’t this be better than standing by the door to the players’ lounge? 

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