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Top Tips for Attending a Professional Tennis Tournament – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 180

By Kselz @TennisFixation

Have you attended a Grand Slam tennis tournament? Are you thinking about it? Well, I just returned from an amazing trip to the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia. And I was blown away and now will be recommending this experience to all of my tennis playing pals. I had an absolute blast, saw so many amazing players, and honestly learned some things that I know I will be bringing to try out in my own tennis game.

So if you're interested in going to a professional tennis tournament or if you've been thinking about it but not sure just what is involved or whether its really worth all the time, effort, and money it might take, I'm going to give you my best tips for attending a professional tennis tournament. Because if you go to one of these, you're going to want to make sure you squeeze every last drop of tennis goodness out of your experience. And I think by the end of this episode, you're not only going to be convinced that you need to attend a professional tennis tournament, you're going to be desperately searching for the next big one that you can get to ASAP. So here they are, my best tips for attending a professional tennis tournament.

You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player in this post or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in Apple Podcasts by going to


1. Do Some Research

So we all know about the big four tennis tournaments - the Grand Slams. These are the Australian Open, the French Open or Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open. And these are fantastic tournaments because they really offer it all - the very tippy top level players, men and women, as well as up and coming young pros and junior players. Singles, doubles, mixed doubles, wheelchair tennis. The whole package.

But I bet you would be surprised how many high level tennis tournaments are happening around you that are not Grand Slams but offer an equally amazing tennis experience. For example, as you probably have heard me say, I live in Houston, Texas, and every spring, the US Men's Clay Court Championships are held here. This is a high level ATP tournament where top level players come to play and prepare for the clay court season. I have seen players like Nick Kyrigios, Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, Lleyton Hewitt and the Bryan Brothers all play. Just to name a few. This tournament requires tickets but not for the qualifying rounds where, just like with the Slams,you can walk around and see some amazing tennis being played by up and coming players as well as names you know who may have to get in through qualifying. Also, the tickets during the main draw aren't cheap but they certainly cost nothing like a trip to Melbourne cost me for the Australian Open.

And here's another pretty high level tournament happens and that I attended a few years ago just by chance - the USTA National Senior Women's Clay Court Championships. This tournament also happens in the spring and is completely free for spectators like me to attend. While the players in this particular tournament are amateurs, they are truly amazing to watch. And this is the type of tournament where you can not only walk around and see fabulous tennis being played by players you can truly emulate and model your own game after, but it is so casual that you are actually sitting with the players, watching matches and listening to their commentary on what is happening on court.

So what I'm saying is that, by doing just a little research, you too may be able to find some pretty amazing tennis to go watch. By all means, get to a Grand Slam event if you can. But if that isn't something you can swing anytime soon, attending another high level ATP or WTA tournament would be incredible. Or how about a Futures or Challenger event? Or even a high level USTA tournament or a college event? Heck, I attended a high school state tournament a few years ago that was really fun and exciting to watch. Especially because I knew some of the players.

Look, If you love tennis, and I know you do if you're listening to this podcast, do a little research and find a tournament near you that you could attend or get involved with. You will definitely not regret it.

2. Get Tickets

To attend a Grand Slam tournament, you probably want to buy tickets. If you're going to all of the trouble to go to that level of tournament, you want to make sure you see some of the big name players and tickets get you into the stadium courts where the big name players have their matches.

For the Australian Open, I bought my tickets from a company called Grand Slam Tennis Tours. I chose to work with them because I had heard of them and thought they had a good reputation. I also didn't know anyone who had been to this particular tournament and I wanted some inside scoop on which sessions to attend and where to sit. Just to be clear, I am not receiving any kind of perk or sponsorship from Grand Slam Tennis Tours by talking about them here. I paid full price for my tickets just like you would if you bought from them. But I wanted to be sure and mention them because I had such a positive experience with them.

When I called, I made clear that since I could only attend for 2 days, I wanted to best, most expensive tickets possible. The person who helped me, James, talked me down on that and helped me choose some fabulous seats that were extremely close to the action, were out of the sun, and did not cost me an arm and a leg. I had tickets to Rod Laver Arena for a night session where I got to see Rafael Nadal play and beat Aussie Nick Kyrgios. I also had tickets to Margaret Court Arena for a day session and got to see Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic pound serves at each other. All of the Grand Slam Tennis Tour tickets also included access to a gorgeous air-conditioned hospitality suite in Melbourne Arena where we were treated to free water bottles, sodas and snacks plus a cash bar and access to the matches that were played there. I got to see the Bryan Brothers play doubles and also saw a really fun legends match that included Tommy Haas and Henri Leconte.

I'll put a link to the Grand Slam Tennis Tours home page in the show notes for this episode because if you're planning on going to a Slam you may want to check them out. I just used them to buy tickets but they also do complete packages.

3. Get Grounds Passes, Credentials or Other Access

So besides buying court side tickets, how else can you get into a professional tennis tournament? Well, there are actually several things that you can do that are cheaper than tickets or even free!

So, even at a Grand Slam event there is this amazing thing called a grounds pass that allows you to experience all kinds of amazing tennis without spending the big bucks. With a grounds pass, you can enter the tournament grounds and usually sit around and watch the tennis action on big screen TVs. But, even better, a grounds pass allows you to wander around and watch matches on outer courts and practice sessions and these are the kind of things that let you get really up close to the players.

At some point during the Australian Open, I realized that the only way I was going to see Roger Federer in person was to get a grounds pass and go watch one of his practices. So that's exactly what my husband and I did. The grounds pass for the Australian Open only cost around $40 and allowed us to not only see Federer, but we saw practicee sessions for Coco Gauff and Dylan Alcott, the guy who ultimately won the men's wheelchair singles. We also watched Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray playing a mixed doubles match. Plus, we saw tons of amazing junior matches on the side courts.

You may also be able to get access to a tennis tournament by volunteering, in which case you usually get credentials which will allow you to get in to the grounds and even in to matches for free. I myself have volunteered at the US Men's Clay Court Championships in the past and was able to use my credentials to watch any match that was going on while I was there. I could even get in on a day when I was not volunteering. I saw tons and tons of volunteers at the Australian Open and I'm sure they were given similar access.

4. Get the App

Okay, I had no idea how valuable having the Australian Open app on my phone was going to be. The app allowed us to find out the next day's schedule so we could plan what we were going to do. It also let us keep up with scores for matches that we wanted to follow but weren't actually attending at the moment. That way we could get to those matches quickly if we saw they were about to wrap up. It also gave us a great map of the grounds because things were very spread out.

Now, while every Grand Slam event has its own app, not every tennis tournament will go to the expense of having an app. But there is another app you can use if you are attending an ATP or WTA tournament. And that's the ATP/WTA Live app. I know they have it for iPhone and I think its available for Android too. This will also give you tournament schedules and scores and will also let you know about Challenger events. It has a calendar where you can see upcoming events, if you want to try to plan for something in your area or when you travel. And it lets you know the current rankings for ATP and WTA players. I myself have used this app for the US Men's Clay Court tournament so I could keep up with what was happening when I wasn't on the grounds. I also know that some of the players and tournament people use it to follow scores, etc. It's a free app so you may want to download it just to keep up with what is happening in the world of professional tennis.

5. Enjoy yourself!

Here's my final tip for attending a tennis tournament - and that's just to enjoy yourself! Take pictures with the giant tennis balls strolling around. Drink the official tournament drink, which in my case, was the Aperol spritz which I happen to love. Shop and pick up some of the official tournament gear. Get out on the side courts to see practices and matches that are not necessarily headliners. Sit out with the crowd and watch Federer play on the big screen when you can't get tickets for his match. Soak in the tennis history. We were lucky enough to attend the ceremony wehre newly elected Tennis Hall of Famers Goran Ivanisevic and Conchita Martinez were introducted at one of the night matches we attended. We also saw fellow Hall of Famers Chris Evert, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Pam Shriver and Stan Smith that night. We also got to see many of the players' coaches, girlfriends, parents, and other entourage members in the stands and on the outside courts. If you are into this kind of stuff, which I obviously am, it is all pretty exciting.

So those are my tips for attending a professional tennis tournament to make sure you get the most out of the experience. I had an absolute blast at the Australian Open and my husband did too. He is definitely not anywhere near as interested in tennis as I am, but even he was kind of star-struck by some of the people we saw. It didn't hurt that he also knew after our time in Melbourne, we would be off for 10 days traveling throughout New Zealand. And, I promise you this, I am now inspired to attend the other 3 Grand Slam events. So let's see how long it takes me to do them all!


Check out this great resource mentioned in this episode:


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That's it for this week's episode of Tennis Quick Tips. Thanks so much for listening and, as always, . . . Happy Tennis!

© Kim Selzman 2020 All Rights Reserved

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