Friday, 3 December 2010

Ian's report from London November 2010

Just back from the O2 in London for the ATP World Tour Finals and what a great trip. The Fan Zone has made a huge difference to the event with an additional 2 practice courts and loads of tennis activities for all ages and levels. The Fan Zone is free which makes it even better and I would recommend getting evening tickets and spending the early part of the day in the Fan Zone.

The opportunity to see the best players in the world practise up close is an amazing privilege and fantastic opportunity to learn. They even allow you to video them!
Highlights of O2 Trip
1. Seeing both Nadal and Murray up close on the practice courts
2. Laura storming ahead on the fastest serve competition wearing heels
3. Seeing the Bryan brothers go through a training session – I was the only person watching! (popularity of doubles!)
4. Getting some great video footage to help with the kids I coach and on TTH holidays
5. Being reminded of the importance of seeing live tennis to fully appreciate the incredible level of skill and athleticism
Is Men’s Doubles Viable as a Spectator Sport?
I hate to admit it but men’s doubles at this level on an indoor hard court can be dull! With serves and returns dominant, rallies rarely go beyond 2 to 3 shots, which does not make for great entertainment.
In my opinion at pro level the only doubles worth watching is anything on clay (which slows it down), ladies or mixed doubles (again slightly slower and more rallies).

At the O2 we have the best male doubles players in the world, but you only have to look at the empty seats, (and paid for), that it does not excite people.

I can’t see a solution for the men’s game unless the rules were changed to make them all stay at the baseline for the 1st 2 shots, probably not an option.

This could be why such “comics” as Bahrami are able to make a living as his version of doubles involves loads of fun rallies (personally not for me either, but can understand the appeal).

I think it is lucky for these guys that their double’s event is joined up with the singles or it really would be hard to sell.

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