World Tour Finals at the O2

The ATP World Tour Finals takes place every November, and features the top 8 players and doubles teams on the ATP tour.

The court at the O2, before the start of the day's play at the World Tour finals
The court at the O2, before the start of the day’s play

It is currently hosted at the O2 Arena in London, and on Monday I spent the day there with Lyle.

The O2 arena is, of course, what used to be called the Millennium Dome. I never visited it when the original exhibition was in place, so have nothing to compare it to, but Lyle and I both really enjoy visiting the venue now. Everything seems to run smoothly, from the car parking, security checks, to the helpful staff showing us to our seats.

And those seats are pretty comfortable, which is important when you are going to be spending 6-8 hours sitting on them!

Welcome to the ATP World Tour Finals
Welcome to the ATP World Tour Finals!

We had been slightly disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see Federer, Djokovic or even Nadal, due to scheduling issues left over from last weekend’s Masters event in Paris. But when a tournament only features the top 8 players in the world, you know that you aren’t going to get any bad matches. We were seated in a pretty good location, behind the baseline but not too far back. I much prefer to sit at the end of the court, because then you don’t end up with a sore neck from following the ball as it goes back and forth across the net.

The first doubles match of the day can be a bit quiet, with slightly sparse crowds – from what I saw, a lot of people choose to head to the restaurants and Fan Zone during this match, and come in later for the singles match. We always want to watch as much tennis as possible, so just grab a quick sandwich for lunch in between matches.

The Sky Sports Studio at the World Tour Finals 2013
Lyle also spotted the Sky Sports studio

After watching Fyrstenberg/Matowski v Qureshi/Rojer, and seeing Stan Wawrinka win against Tomas Berdych (cheered on by some very exuberant Swiss fans!), we headed out for a quick bite to eat before the evening session began. Our table was on a balcony overlooking the main walkway, and so we were able to do a spot of people watching as well – it was good fun with all the different groups of fans.

Lopez/Granollers and Marrero/Verdasco warming up for their doubles match at the World Tour Finals 2013
Lopez/Granollers and Marrero/Verdasco warming up for their doubles match

In the evening session, we were both disappointed to see Lopez/Granollers lose to their compatriots Marrero/Verdasco, as we had seen Lopez/Granollers play last year and enjoyed a thrilling win that time. But by the end of this match, the crowds were all in their seats and ready for the most exciting match of the day – Juan Martin Del Potro v Richard Gasquet. These players are completely different in style and stature, so the match was either going to be very one-sided, or a real thriller.

Juan Martin del Potro walking onto court with a mascot at the World Tour Finals 2013
Juan Martin del Potro walking onto court

It didn’t disappoint, and we were treated to three sets of really high quality tennis. The crowd were ooh-ing and ah-ing at Richard Gasquet’s silky skills and his divine single handed backhand. Meanwhile, on the other side of the net, Del Potro’s serves and forehands looked even bigger and scarier than they do on television.

The audience was split fairly evenly although I would have to say that the French fans were possibly a little louder and definitely had more variety in their cheers and songs.

We were both sad that Gasquet had not managed to get the win, but overall we left at 10.30pm in good spirits after a fantastic day of tennis. Of course, I had the 3.5 hour return drive to look forward to, and I was very tired when I got up the next morning. But it was worth it, just to spend a day watching such fantastic tennis played out in front of me.

Richard Gasquet hitting a forehand at the World Tour Finals 2013
Richard Gasquet hitting a forehand

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