The world’s best tennis venues
Originally published on 27/04/16 00:00
1 Court King Rainier III, Monte Carlo
The glitz, the glamour, the views of the azure blue Mediterranean. Oh yeah, and the tennis. The show court at the Monte Carlo Masters has it all. Nine thousand temporary seats put in place every year give those watching on at the Monte Carlo Country Club a perfect chance to soak up the atmosphere at the traditional opening to the European clay court swing. Fans at the very top of the grandstands also have an ideal view of the other courts on site should they decide to turn their heads during a change of ends.
2 Centre Court, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club
Perhaps not the prettiest looking venue in world tennis, Centre Court probably still holds the honour of being the most famous court on the planet. The intimate nature of construction allows the 15,000- strong crowd to feel as close to the action as possible as the sound of ball on racket strings reverberates around the stands during play. There is something very therapeutic about watching players dressed in all white against those famous dark green surroundings.
3 Roy Emerson Stadium, Gstaad, Switzerland
Another one for the lovers of mountain scenery and countryside air, Gstaad’s main stadium is perched on a hillside among a cluster of log cabins and holiday chalets. The 6,000-seater arena provides spectators with views of the rolling hillsides and mountain passes. It’s proximity on the calendar so close to Wimbledon however means, like Kitzbühel, it is an event often likely to be skipped by the world’s top five or six players.
4 Kitzbühel, Austria
Sporting events in Kitzbühel to most people would only mean one thing – skiing. But hidden among the snow-capped peaks in the Austrian Alps is the quaint Kitzbüheler tennis club. Despite resting 762m above sea level, temperatures in summer can reach a humid 25°C, allowing a 6,000 capacity crowd to enjoy high quality tennis under clear blue skies in front of one of the most picturesque backdrops on the ATP Tour.
5 Arthur Ashe, US Open
By some margin the biggest sole purpose tennis arena in world, the US Open’s most high profile venue has a capacity of over 23,000 as the tiers surrounding the playing surface stretch up high into the New York skyline. Opened in 1997 as the focal point of Flushing Meadows, Ashe looks particularly resplendent under the lights of a tournament night session and a sliding roof is expected to be in place by the 2016 tournament.
6 Qizhong Forest Sports Arena, Shanghai
The largest tennis venue in Asia until the construction of the Olympic Centre in Beijing, the arena was specially built to host the ATP World Tour Finals between 2005 and 2008. Centre court is covered by a steel roof made up of eight petal-shaped pieces designed to resemble the city’s official flower, the Magnolia. The four levels of seating can house around 15,000 spectators.
7 Caja Mágica, Madrid
Madrid’s Magic Box actually contains three show courts which all sit underneath one giant retractable roof. The Manolo Santana main arena holds 12,500 people and makes up a large area of the space available at the Madrid Olympic Tennis Centre. The specific design on the structure acts as a man-made windbreak, allowing for optimum conditions for the best players in the world down on court.
8 Court Philippe Chatrier, Roland Garros
France’s premier tennis court has nestled in the Paris suburbs since its completion in 1928. Named after the long-time President of the French Tennis Federation in 2001, the main arena at Roland Garros was previously known as Court Central. Just short of 15,000 onlookers can sample the tournament’s biggest matches and those in the upper echelons of the viewing area can look out over the city and see the Eiffel Tower too.
9 Indian Wells, Indian Wells Tennis Garden
With a capacity of 16,100, Stadium 1 at Indian Wells is the second biggest in the world, and provides all fans, even those in the upper tiers, with a spectacular platform to enjoy tennis from every March. The arena features 44 luxurious suites, locker rooms, broadcast and press rooms, as well 6,000 square-feet of refreshment bars and stands.
10 Dubai Tennis Centre, Dubai
It’s easy to get lost in the Dubai skyline, but sitting at a slightly lower height is the 5,000 seater main arena situated within the grounds of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Centre. Once voted the best on Tour by the players themselves, the stadium has doubled up as a concert venue since its opening in 1996 and acts such as Sting, Bryan Adams and Enrique Iglesias have all taken to the stage.