The BNP Paribas Open offers some of the best seats in all of tennis and they’re probably not what and where you’re thinking. Sure, the luxury suites inside the main stadium are amazing; they have a perfect view of the court and offer such amenities like catered food/drink and even indoor/outdoor viewing options. They’re pretty awesome but they’re not what I’m talking about. You’re thinking that I then, must be referring to the box seats at the grand stand where you’re sitting within 50 feet of the pros. Can’t get any better right? Nope, not that either.
So what am I talking about? I’m talkin’ ‘bout practice. Practice?! The practice courts that is. In my opinion, the best seats in the house. For tennis geeks like myself, it really doesn’t get much better than that. It’s at those practice courts where you can sit literally, a couple feet (not 50) from your favorite player. It’s at those practice courts where you can see what the pros are working on for their upcoming match. Who doesn’t love behind-the-scenes type stuff? I watched Ana Ivanovic practice her serve as she tried to hit colored cones in the service box. And conversely, a few courts away, Victoria Azarenka was working on her return while her coach served at her from the service line. It’s at the practice courts where you can witness some of the best match ups not in the main draw. This year I saw some ridiculous points between Kei Nishikori and Andy Murray from 10 feet away, watched Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco flatten the ball in some thunderous rallies, and Philipp Kohlschreiber rally back and forth with Gael Monfils, just to name a few.
Don’t believe me? Then I’ll let these pictures do the convincing (click to enlarge).
Yea, I’m talkin’ about practice.