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Order of Play – Tips and Advice for Attending Tennis Tournaments

Attending professional level tennis tournaments offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the world's best players in action.

From the glamour of the Grand Slams to the lower level Challenger Events, there’s no substitute for watching top level tennis live and in person. In this article, we’ll provide you with valuable information on attending these tournaments, including how to find scheduling information for individual players and where to purchase tickets.

Finding Scheduling Information for Individual Players

Fancy seeing your favourite player in action? It’s not quite as easy as you’d think. Not only are players’ calendars affected by last-minute withdrawals, injuries, and personal commitments but it’s often impossible to tell who’s going to be playing and where as the ATP does a pretty poor job in letting people know. However, if you’re willing to put in the effort there are a few resources that can help.

ATP and WTA Websites

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) official websites offer comprehensive information on player profiles, rankings, and results. They also provide a useful calendar to their upcoming events. Unfortunately they’re not so hot on letting you know who’s playing at those events so you might have better luck looking at…

Official Tournament Websites

The official websites of the individual tournaments usually provide more detailed schedules, including match times, court assignments, and player participation. These sites often offer interactive tools and downloadable schedules to help plan your visit. Although some events do a better job than others. 

Social Media and Player Websites

If you are interested in following individual players then your best bet is to keep track of their personal websites and follow them on social media. Again, some players have more interest in keeping their fans up to date than others, but if you’re lucky you’ll get real time updates on who’s playing where and when. 

Where to Buy Tickets

Once you’ve chosen an event and decided who you’d like to see it’s time to get hold of some tickets. There are a few ways to do that.

Official Tournament Websites

The primary source for tickets is usually the official website of the tournament you plan to attend. These sites offer dedicated ticketing sections where you can select seating options, purchase tickets online, and sometimes even choose specific matches or sessions.

Authorized Ticket Resellers

In many cases, authorized ticket resellers such as Ticketmaster may be appointed by tournament organizers to distribute tickets. These resellers guarantee the authenticity of the tickets and often offer additional services such as package deals and hospitality options.

Secondary Market Platforms

Secondary market platforms like StubHub, Ticketmaster Resale, or Viagogo provide a marketplace for buying and selling tickets from individual ticket holders. Exercise caution when using these platforms and ensure you are dealing with reputable sellers to avoid scams or counterfeit tickets.

Tennis Clubs and Federations

Finally, local tennis clubs and national tennis federations may have information on ticket availability and special offers for their members. For Grand Slams such as Wimbledon for example there’s often a public ballot which you can enter by getting in touch with the LTA or your local club.

Advice for attending tennis tournaments

If you’ve never seen live tennis in person before there are a few factors to bear in mind to make the most of your time.

Plan Ahead

Tennis tournaments, especially the major ones, attract a large number of spectators. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, plan your visit well in advance. Consider factors such as travel arrangements, accommodation, and ticket availability. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the tournament schedule to decide which matches or sessions you want to attend.

Check Tournament Rules and Regulations

Before attending an event, review the specific rules and regulations set by the organizers. These guidelines may include restrictions on bringing certain items (such as large bags or outside food) and dress codes. Sticking to these rules will help avoid any inconvenience upon entry to the venue.

Dress Comfortably

Tennis tournaments often involve spending long hours outdoors, so it’s important to dress appropriately. Opt for comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for walking and standing for extended periods. Additionally, consider wearing a hat, sunglasses, and applying sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

Arrive Early

Arriving early at the tournament allows you to explore the facilities, find your seats, and soak up the atmosphere before the matches begin. It also provides an opportunity to witness practice sessions and potentially catch glimpses of players warming up.

Stay Hydrated and Pack Snacks

Keeping hydrated is essential, especially if you’re attending a tournament in hot weather. Matches can last for many hours. Carry a refillable water bottle to stay refreshed throughout the day. Additionally, pack some snacks or light refreshments to keep you energized between matches, as food options may be limited or expensive within the venue.

Respect Players and Fellow Spectators

Tennis tournaments have a certain decorum and etiquette that should be observed. Respect the players by refraining from flash photography, turning off your mobile phone, and avoiding any disruptive behavior. Be mindful of fellow spectators by refraining from obstructing views, from excessive noise, and following any seating guidelines.

Explore the Surrounding Area

If you have the time, consider exploring the surrounding area of the tournament venue. Some tournaments are held in cities with attractions worth visiting, providing an opportunity to enhance your overall experience. Research local attractions, restaurants, and activities to make the most of your trip.

Engage in Fan Activities

Many tournaments offer fan activities and interactive experiences. Take advantage of these opportunities to engage with the sport and its community. Look for autograph sessions, fan zones, or exhibitions where you can meet players, participate in mini-games, or learn more about the sport.

Follow Safety Guidelines

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to follow any safety guidelines and protocols set by the tournament organizers and local health authorities. Stay updated on the latest requirements regarding face masks, social distancing, and vaccination or testing protocols.

Immerse Yourself in the Atmosphere

Lastly, soak in the unique atmosphere of a live tennis tournament. Cheer for your favorite players, engage with fellow fans, and enjoy the energy and excitement that only a live sporting event can offer. Capture memories, take photos, and savor the experience of witnessing top-level tennis up close.

Or you could attend for free…

There is of course one other method of getting into tennis tournaments and that’s…turning pro. Check out our rackets for advanced players to help you on that journey. Not quite there yet? It’s never too late to start. Why not check out our guide to the best tennis rackets for beginners.

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