In this off-season series, we ask the hard-working TTI staff some of the most burning questions. In our third installment, we take a look at the varied stages on which our very unique brand of athletic theater takes place.
Over the course of an (approximately) thirteen month season, one would think that there are too many tournaments to pick a favorite. At face value, what differentiates Rome from Madrid? But chalk it up to emotional investment, physical proximity, or otherwise good memories, and everyone in tennis has an opinion on which tournament is the best of them all. Given the choice of events ranging from International to Masters 1000, our crew came up with an interesting assortment of Tour favorites. Check out their picks:
Such a tough question! There are so many excellent options to choose from. But, if I had to pick one as my favorite, I would go with the Australian Open. The anticipation of the first major of the year is almost like no other feeling we get to experience throughout the year.
In addition, the Australian Open is run as well as any other, if not better. The tournament does a terrific job promoting itself through social media and capturing scenes and highlights of the event, both on and off the court. From first ball to last, you’ll be able catch live action Down Under with matches streamed starting with the Wildcard Play-off all the way to the men’s final.
One of my favorite tournaments every season is Stuttgart.
Sharapova-related reasons notwithstanding, the atmosphere is amazing, the stadium is always full and both the pre-match and post-match productions are hilariously dramatic.
I’ve only been to two tournaments in person. With the US Open a mere twenty minutes away, it is like having Mecca in your backyard. The Grand Slam experience is hard to top, but it can be overwhelming and leave you spoiled for choice. For that reason, I’ll go with the Pilot Pen. The Wozniacki Invitational.
The Connecticut Open.
It’s small. It’s contained. It’s always got a decent field, and it has free transportation from the Metro-North Station. What more could you want? I first attended 10 years ago, and saw Jennifer Capriati practicing on a side court, and a pre-“Glitter” Jelena Jankovic on Center Court.
Last time I was there, I was privy to a startlingly entertaining final between Petra Kvitova and would-be No. 2 Simona Halep. After unseating the aforementioned Queen of New Haven a round earlier, the Romanian had a comprehensive victory over the Czech powerhouse, winning her first Premier title and slowly changing minds about her potential as an elite player. With it so close to the US Open, it could easily be a forgettable event. But hey, it’s one of my favorites.
To avoid cliché, I won’t pick a major. It’s a player favorite and it’s also my favorite: Dubai, on both the men’s and women’s side.
Court speed and camera angle are nice, and it’s at a great time of year when players tend to be fresh. The big prize money pool tends to attract big names.
To not avoid cliché, my other favorite is the Australian Open.
The victory of former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic lifted the tournament from obscurity once and for all. It became the WTA’s REAL fifth Slam, one of the most coveted tournament distinctions in tennis (previously held by Baku). The alleged avalanche of success from the 2013 Copa Colsanitas even inspired the city to start holding an ATP event again.
If I’m not attending a tournament, I want my viewing experience to transport me there, despite the fact that I’m watching from my couch.
Every year, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome does that for me.
First, there’s the history of the event – which has been in existence for over 80 years. Secondly, the venue itself is breath-taking. All of the matches for both men and women are well-attended, and you can feel the unique atmosphere when an Italian is playing even while watching. The Foro Italico is simply picturesque; watching a match on the Pietrangeli court – surrounded by statues and sunken in the ground – is on my bucket list.
The “old world” charm of the tournament is further enhanced by the fact that its antithesis, Madrid – Ion Tiriac’s shiny, corporate wasteland – precedes it in the calendar.
This song sums up all of my feelings.
Did your favorite get left out? Sound off in the comments!