We made it back to Vermont after two spectacular weeks at the BNP Paribas Open, and let’s just say that the transition has been more than a little bit depressing. After fourteen days of nothing but brilliant sunshine, warm temperatures, and great tennis, the weather here has us in a funk. Human beings just weren’t meant to endure snain. That’s not a made up word, but a word that those of you from the northeast will understand. Snain is the awful the snow/rain combination that makes spring still seem impossibly far away while also destroying hopes of any good skiing. Anyways, I digress, because what I really want to write about is how amazed I am that the BNP Paribas Open continues to get better, and to implore those of you who have never been to make you plans to attend next year ASAP.
You’ve heard it called the fifth Grand Slam, which the Grand Slams really don’t like. You’ve heard that the venue is spectacular, that the players love it, the weather is perfect, the Larry Ellison funding endless, and that it is the best tournament in the world. Sure, it looks great on television, but, until you go, you’re allowed to be skeptical. Then you go, and you learn just how true all of those things are, and so much more. Sorry Wimbledon, you will always be the oldest, the most storied, the most elite, and still the bucket-list topper… but you just aren’t the best anymore. The BNP Paribas Open has been rebuilt from the bottom up, with no details missed. The players and the fans kept equally in mind through every stage of the process, and boy, what a difference does it make.
The players enjoy replay challenge technology on every single court, as well as the most prize money outside of the Slams. The fans enjoy the most comprehensive mobile app of any tennis event in the world, and free charging stations throughout the grounds if said app drains your battery life. It’s also hot in Indian Wells, but rather than paying eight dollars for a bottle of Evian every time you are thirsty, there are filtered water-bottle filling stations all over the grounds. Not to mention new restaurants, an INCREDIBLE new stadium, and seamless transportation to all of the areas resorts and hotels.
Needless to say, there is quite a big draw to Indian Wells in March for this amazing tournament, and at Topnotch Tennis Tours, we just had our most successful BNP Paribas Open ever. We brought over 150 happy tennis fans to the event to stay at the gorgeous La Quinta Resort and watch the world’s best tennis. With two tennis courts reserved each morning, every client had the opportunity to play tennis on some of the nation’s most beautiful courts before heading to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to watch the upset-riddled tournament unfold. The newest feature of our tour this year was the addition of a luxury suite option to our packages. Located in the northwest corner of the stadium, the suite was a resounding success, featuring food, drinks, and a wonderful air-conditioned escape from the desert heat.
Our 2015 Indian Wells Tennis Tours have just been published, and based on this year’s success, and the growth of the tournament itself, right NOW is the best time to book. Call your Topnotch Tennis Tours sales specialist today, and reserve your spot at the best resorts, in the best seats, at the best tennis tournament in the world before it is too late. Our 2015 BNP Paribas Open Packages will not last long, and you do not want to miss out again. We will be there, make sure you will too!
Li Na, and Stanislas Wawrinka. Those are our most recent Slam winners. Let that sink in for a minute. Great players? Absolutely. Front-runners? Far from it. Now, I don’t mean to discredit the bodies of work of these players, specifically Li Na. To say that she had a fighting chance at the title might even have been an understatement, having been runner up in Melbourne twice, and already owning a Grand Slam title. But, when coupling her victory with Wawrinka’s, whose underdog story dwarfs that of David and Goliath, the storyline ventures from improbable to what many all would have thought downright impossible. The stranglehold that the “Big Four” have had on the men’s game has been nothing short of remarkable. With Del Potro being the only man to break through for a Slam title since 2006, even Stan, admittedly, simply didn’t expect to even contend for a Grand Slam. But what now?
All I need is a little spark, a story, or thought even, to allow my musings into the ridiculously hypothetical. Thanks to Stan and Li, and their 451:1 odds of both taking the Aussie title, they have allowed me just that. If those two can take the titles out of the death grip that Serena and the big three (sorry, Roger) have had on them in the first Slam of the year, then what could happen by the last Slam of 2014?
Allow me to jump ahead to August/September, in the heavy, stinking humidity of NYC. Stan is still number three in the world, after validating his performance Down Under, though still seeking another Slam final berth. Nadal, after winning a record ninth French Open title, hasn’t seemed physically right since, though he is insistent that his body is fine. Dimitrov has seen improving results and is a dark-horse favorite to make a deep run in New York. That guy Roger won’t go away, but as the 7th seed, would shock analysts by advancing beyond the quarters. It’s not going out on a limb to say that we knew it would be Novak and Andy’s world soon, only even they don’t appear invincible now.
What does all this theoretical babble mean? Come the conclusion of the 2014 US Open, there will be a changing of the guard. And that doesn’t mean from Roger and Rafa to Novak and Andy; that has been happening over the past two years. What I mean is, the top of the game will finally see the volatility its been lacking for the better part of a decade. Gone will be the days where we can guarantee that one of just a few players will win each and every major title. And I think we, as tennis fans, will welcome, with open arms, the idea that matches before the quarter, or even semi-finals will matter again!
And this doesn’t go for just the men. Serena has been an incredible ambassador for tennis, and American tennis, for a very long time. For the past couple years, if she played her best tennis, the rest of the ladies were fighting for second place. If Serena faltered, Azarenka was there to pick up the scraps, or occasionally Maria, and a Cinderella Bartoli or Stosur, perhaps. The point being, for a long time now, if Serena was playing, it was her tournament to lose. And while having a dominant American was fun for us, it’s gotten bland. Sure, the occasional upset is fun, but tennis needs instability. Serena will win another Slam, maybe even two or three, but she’s no longer untouchable, and I have a feeling the rest of the ladies on tour, by the 2014 US Open, will know that. Enter Eugenie Bouchard. Welcome to the big-time, Sloane Stephens. Simona Halep? Sure. How about now, Radwanska and Woz? Doesn’t that sound like so much more fun?
Let us relish what we have had with the “Big Four,” and the dominance of Serena. Don’t read this as an obituary, and don’t show any of these players this article, the last thing they need is more ammunition. But, let’s look forward to the rest of this season, and all of its hypothetical glory, with hopes of new storylines, and some new energy in the sport we all love. By the US Open, things will be different, I’m telling you.
Though still six months away, the 2014 US Open is going to be one for the ages. It is one, that if you haven’t been paying attention for years, ought to perk up those antennas and inspire you to make plans to be a part of it. Grand Slam Tennis Tours has been taking clients to the biggest tournaments in the world for over 25 years, and the US Open packages are world-class. Stay in the official tournament hotel and ride the elevator with players, enjoy seamless transportation, and the best courtside and luxury suite seats. The US Open is always tennis’ brightest stage, but this year, look for it to be a little bit brighter.
If you are interested in attending the 2014 US Open, don’t hesitate, call Grand Slam Tennis Toursand talk to one of their experienced sales professionals about your world-class luxury tennis vacation today. Who knows, you just might see history being made, right in the front row.
If you hate sunny, perfect weather, limitless activity options, smiling faces, and world-class food, you can just stop reading now. If you love all these things, and aren’t serious about stepping up your vacation game, read on, and hopefully this verbose gushing about one of my favorite places on earth will motivate you to step it up and book your trip today. I am talking about Palm Springs, California, site of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Unless you are lucky enough to live in a warm, sunny climate year round, you know the feeling that comes with February. Days are short, and lengthening quickly enough to give you hope that Spring may be around the corner. But alas, March still looms, with all of its subzero blizzard-potential still hanging overhead, threatening to strike. Well, I’m over it, and the countdown is on. Who wants to join me in the California desert? From March 3-16, the best players in the world all flock to Indian Wells to what is, in my opinion, the best tennis tournament in the world. The BNP Paribas Open is growing at an incredible rate, with world class facilities, and near Grand Slam prize money and prestige. But the best part about it, you wonder? You can book your trip around the tournament, but enjoy so much more. Palm Springs is like one gigantic, ultra-friendly country club. Thousands of tennis courts, hundreds of golf courses, countless spas, restaurants, and hiking trails all bathed in sunshine mean you will have to build in free time outside of watching the tennis or risk not making the most of your vacation.
Topnotch Tennis Tours has created tennis-centric packages for the BNP Paribas Open this year that are unmatched. The resorts of choice, the Miramonte Resort and Spa during the first week of the tournament, and the La Quinta Resort and Club during the second, are relaxation havens. Set against the backdrop of the picturesque desert mountains, and built in-between sky-scraping palm trees that cascade shade patterns across the fifty pools at your disposal. Offering full-service spas and multiple fine-dining options “on-campus,” you’ll never need to leave. But you will.
Topnotch Tennis Tours provides seamless transfers from the hotel to the tournament grounds throughout the day. The Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the most fan-friendly of all major tennis venues. Spacious by any standards, it features many dining options, two world-class stadiums, and rare features like shot-spot challenge technology on every court. Watching the best tennis in the world will only give you the itch to play, and Topnotch Tennis Tours is happy to scratch ya. With courts reserved at La Quinta every morning, you can enjoy a casual hit-and-giggle, a clinic with Topnotch pros, or a doubles game. I know what you are thinking, there’s just not enough time. You’re right, there’s not. But, outside of moving your life and career to Palm Springs, Topnotch Tennis Tours is happy to oblige your vacation desires. The packages are customizable, so you can make it your own!
My countdown is on, I will be basking in the California sunshine in just 18 days. Will you?
Tennis is a fickle game. The difference in a match at the top of the men’s game is often decided by a millimeter, or a millisecond; a lapse of judgement, or a risk well-taken. In a game that displays such remarkable athleticism where a moment of glory is lauded as heroism and a similar mistake in the same moment is regarded as felonious, what makes the difference? The best players in the game are in a relentless pursuit for that edge, and the formula is ever-changing. There seems to be a new trend, however. All the men have always had top-tier nutritionists and trainers at their beck and call. Their perfect bodies go with their perfect stamina that goes with their perfect ground strokes, serves and volleys. And yet, players have breakthroughs, players have resurgences, and players fade slowly, helplessly, silently back into the irrelevant. This is happening every day on the ATP tour.
The biggest changes over the past two years on tour have been Murray’s meteoric rise into the upper echelon of the game, coupled with Federer losing his grip on greatness, and Djokovic’s constant frustration by that guy Nadal. Nadal is number one in the world, humbly comfortable, as always, with his winning ways, and the team that supports him. So let’s leave him out of it. Federer and Djokovic, who once, for years, looked down at Murray as the annoying little brother constantly nipping at their heels, now appear to be following his recent strategy for success. And why shouldn’t they? In the past six slams, Murray owns two, while they look up at him, with only one each in their pockets.
Murray credits, above everything else, his new head coach, the legendary Ivan Lendl as the difference maker in his game. As an eight-time Grand Slam champion and still one of the most dominant players in the history of tennis, he brought Murray the edge he needed. Now a more aggressive player, Murray has rounded out his game to be able to consistently play with, and beat, the best. The original worries that the two would not be able to get over each other’s sizable egos were quickly relieved and now they make up the most iconic player-coach duo in the game. And so, Federer hires Stefan Edberg, and Djokovic hires Boris Becker.
It worked for Murray, so it will work for them, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Obviously, we need to get below the surface on this type of thing, but first, let’s take it for what it is. Be careful following recipes. You may love your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies, and you can follow her recipe exactly. But your cookies aren’t going to taste like grandma’s.
Now, I understand that I am writing this from behind a desk, my competitive tennis days well behind me, and those days were miles below the level that these guys display. Edberg was one of the craftiest players and best serve-and-volleyers of all time. Might he bring a new dimension to Federer’s game and really make him dangerous in the twilight of his career? I’m in no position to dispute that thinking. And Becker, or “Boom-boom,” as he was called, had remarkable success with his all-or-nothing style of play. Maybe he is the missing piece that will allow Djokovic to regain his stranglehold on the number one ranking.
Nobody really knows how these high-profile power couples are going to fare. Djokovic/Becker seems like a little bit of a stretch to me, but at the very least, perhaps it will get his comically bad commentating off the airwaves for a while. And as far as Edberg/Federer go, I get it, but I hope it’s more than the G.O.A.T grasping blindly for something to save his career. But he’s better than that, and it’s easy to be a cynic. I hope these new coaching relationships blossom into something wonderful, but it’s a lot to ask when looking at what Murray and Lendl have done. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be great theatre for us tennis fans. Bring it on.
The average temperature in Vermont this week has been around twenty degrees fahrenheit. Not bad for winter in Vermont, but TERRIBLE, after returning from a week long trip to the Caribbean where the needle never dipped below seventy six degrees. That’s what the GSTT team has been feeling this week after an unbelievable getaway to our spectacular partner resort, Curtain Bluff, on the gorgeous island of Antigua in the West Indies.
We are very excited about our partnership, as Curtain Bluff, in addition to being a picturesque, all-inclusive beach resort, is also renowned as the best tennis resort in the entire Caribbean. Boasting four championship tennis courts, four pros, and a full pro shop, a vacation to Curtain Bluff can be entirely based around the tennis. Oh, did I mention that the courts are also right on thewater? A shanked forehand feels a little less demoralizing when you can look out on the clear blue water and straight across to Monserrat. Believe me, I now know from experience. Curtain Bluff also offers four tennis weeks per year, featuring famous tour professionals, instruction, matches, and of course, everything else the resort has to offer. You may go for the tennis, but you will stay, and return for future trips, based on the resort as a whole.
As you drive from the airport to Curtain Bluff, you will pass many a bright-colored home, stray dog, and smiling Antiguan sitting on the front porch. You’ll notice the slower pace on the island, and it relaxes you immediately. It is a comfortable place, a warm place, a place you immediately fear leaving, even after having just arrived. And then you pull into the entrance of Curtain Bluff, and WOW. It is paradise, in every form of the word. You are surrounded by massive palm trees (some of the larger Royal Palms even imported from Florida,) white sand beaches, and as you quickly get used to in Antigua, more genuinely smiling faces. Your bags are taken to your room, and you are served a drink as you get a mini-tour of the resort. The door to your room opens and you look straight past the well-appointed decor and straight out the sliding glass doors to the beach. You are instructed that there are no TVs in the room because they don’t have a place for couch potatoes at Curtain Bluff. Perfect. There is air conditioning, but they recommend you sleep with the screen doors open and turn on the fan. The crashing waves will rock you right to sleep. I recommend it too.
There is a full schedule of daily activities posted, and boy, there are a lot. From the tennis player, to the fisherman, to the beach bum, sailor, waterskier, wine connoisseur, or spa-freak, Curtain Bluff has you covered. You’ll experience top-shelf service from the moment you walk into the breakfast area, until you make it back to your bedroom after the live music ends at eleven o clock every night and find the tasteful turn-down service. You’ll enjoy beachside lunches with steel drum bands serenading you, and be served succulent daiquiris without ever leaving your beach chair. You’ll be spoilt for choice at either of the restaurants for dinner (the beachside restaurant has an italian/island flair that is not to miss,) and the live music every night, coupled with the all-inclusive, all-day bar, make the dance floor appealing to even those with two left feet.
It is rare to be in a place where you can look around, and feel like everyone you see is having the best day of their lives. In fact, it’s something I’d never experienced before Curtain Bluff. But that’s how it felt every single day. That speaks volumes to the legacy of the resort, and easily explains the seventy five percent return rate of the clientele. Things are good, down in Antigua. I could rave about it for hours, weeks even. But, the reality is, this is a place that you simply need to experience. You’ll be a better person for it, and it’ll cause you a lot of heartache as your trip comes to an end and you pull out of the resort gates in a taxi. But I heard a saying down there that made it just a little bit easier: “You have to leave to come back.” I wish it wasn’t so damn logical, but I bought into it strictly to avoid tears.
In partnering with Curtain Bluff, we are excited to offer anyone who mentions Grand Slam or Topnotch Tennis Tours when booking their vacation to paradise, a 30 minute complimentary massage. Also, if you travel to Curtain Bluff during a tennis week in 2014, you are eligible to win a 2015 Wimbledon travel package. What’s not to love? Don’t wait, because if you do, you are only limiting the number of return trips you can take!
While you’re sitting around eating turkey and thinking about all the things you’re thankful for, take some time to give thanks to all the wonderful things going on in the world of tennis! Here’s our Top 10 reasons to give thanks. Vote for your favorite here!
10. Redfoo What’s not to love about the LMFAO star and boyfriend of Victoria Azarenka who is as omnipresent in the tennis world as most players, analysts, and agents. He fancies himself a strong player, too, as he tried to qualify for the US Open this past summer. That didn’t go so well. Perhaps he will practice up and be next year’s bracket buster at Flushing Meadows!
9. Bartoli’s Bittersweet Year Marion Bartoli achieved her crowning moment as she shocked the world and won her first Grand Slam title this year at Wimbledon. She then, unfortunately and surprisingly, retired just weeks later citing, “My body just can’t do it anymore.” She was a great champion and ambassador for the game, and she will be missed!
8. Bryan Brothers It was heartbreaking to watch the brothers lose to Paes-Stephanek in three sets in the US Open semifinals. They were on track to complete a calendar Grand Slam, becoming the first team to capture all four majors in one season since Frank Sedgman and Ken McGregor in 1951. But the Indian-Czech duo was too strong. Still, they ended the season with a career-best match record of 70-13. Not too shabby for the tour veterans.
7. Twitter and Tennis Players Who needs to write fan mail when you can tweet your favorite player? Not that they’ll respond, but this microblogging keeps the fans up-to-date on the thoughts and happenings of our beloved tennis stars. Federer in particular is very active, hosting #AskRF sessions for his fans. Check out The top 13 things learned from Roger Federer’s Twitter Q&A.
6. Spring Break at the Sony Open and the BNP Paribas Open Although they are battling for the title of the 5th Grand Slam, we couldn’t care less. Both tournaments offer a warm getaway for us tennis fans in March to see both the top men and women compete on American soil. Which one is better? Find out for yourself and check out Topnotch Tennis Tours’ packages to the Sony Open and BNP Paribas Open.
5. Sloane Stephens Breakthrough Winning the title in Brisbane and easily making her way to the Australian Open quarterfinals only validated the critics’ opinions that Serena was the favorite for the title – that was until she faced Sloane Stephens who at the time was the only teenager in the top 50 playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal with no Top 10 wins to date. Despite losing the opening set, Stephens rallied back in the second to force a third, winning 3-6, 7-5 6-4.
4. Davis Cup The Davis Cup is unlike any other tennis event in the world. Set up in a team format, it is no longer just a metaphorical ‘boxing-match’ between opponents, but a battle between opponents, sidelines, and the fans. While still largely acknowledged, the hush-hush atmosphere of a tennis match goes out the window, giving way to boisterous fans clad in face paint and flags. We’re already counting down the days to the Davis Cup Tie against Great Britain in San Diego, CA.
3. Serena Williams What more can she possibly add to her remarkable resume? Apparently, a lot. At 32 years old, Serena just completed her most successful year ever with 11 titles, adding her 16th and 17th Grand Slams. Oh, should we mention she also had her longest winning streak (34 matches), won her 600th career match, became the oldest woman to hold the world #1 spot, earned her career best winning percentage, and also set the record for most prize money won in a year ($12.35 million!), 4 million dollars more than the previous record! Yikes, it looks like she is FAR from done.
2. Murray Wins Wimbledon Murray finally “got the monkey off his back” becoming the first British man in 77 years to raise the trophy at the All England Club. And he beat Djokovic, the top seed no less, in three sets 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 on that gorgeous and memorable Sunday afternoon. The strawberries and cream tasted extra sweet that day.
1. Nadal-Djokovic Rivalry The ATP tour felt incomplete with Nadal’s absence after Wimbledon in 2012 until his comeback in early 2013. Since then, he has won 10 titles from 14 finals, ending the season at #1 with a 75-7 match record– 3 of those loses to Djokovic (they are 3-3 in 2013). Djokovic picked up his sixth major trophy at the Australian Open and also had a great year, ending with a 74-9 match record and ranked #2. Nadal leads the rivalry 22 to 17 in match wins, making the duo a must-see for tennis fans in 2014, especially the Grand Slam opener in Melbourne.
The Davis Cup is an event unlike any other in the tennis community. Blending patriotism and top-level competition, the aura surrounding each Tie is a major digression from the loneliness top players experience on court at every other event. Crazed fans painted and draped in their national colors fill the stands and players remain on the sidelines to support their compatriots, even after long five set matches. The players love playing for country, as it must feel like an escape from their daily grind that breeds, and even requires a degree of selfishness to experience real success. However, after attending the Davis Cup quarterfinals in Boise last spring in which the Americans got spanked by the Serbians, I found an inexplicable lack of energy from the American side that was downright disappointing, and frankly, embarrassing.
As we begin preparing for the 2014 Davis Cup, I came across a cool infographic about the history of the Davis Cup, and it further compounded my feelings about the American team. The resounding theme across the infographic is this: the USA has been the dominant force in Davis Cup play since its inception over a century ago. They have won thirty-two titles, four more than Australia, and twenty-three more than France and Great Britain, who are tied for third most titles. They have won the most consecutive Davis Cups and have the longest streak of consecutive Tie wins. Couple that with the amount of pride Americans put into their sports, and you’d think that the players would step up, be loud, support each other, and bring the type of palpable enthusiasm that electrifies the fans.
Instead, in Boise, the players left the court after their matches (at no point could you find any of the starting players on the court while any of the other matches were going on,) and the sideline consisted of an overdressed Jim Courier looking sadly at a bench of teenaged practice players more thoroughly engrossed in what was going on on their iPhones than the international “battle” being staged on court just feet away from them. It extended to the crowd, who tried to be supportive, but largely fell flat on their face, and the Americans lost easily to a better, more excitable Serbian squad. Novak Djokovic never left the court after his match, and was on his feet after every exciting point. Maybe it is because they hadn’t been there. Maybe it is because we have. We’ve gotten comfortable near the top of the World Group. Maybe we don’t want it anymore. Maybe the stadium was too big. Maybe there are too many excuses.
The American’s first round Tie against Great Britain is a chance for redemption. A matchup of the original Davis Cup and battle between two of the most storied squads in the world. Staged on a sunny outdoor court in a small stadium set in the middle of an ultra-American landmark (a major league baseball stadium,) the Americans are presented with a unique opportunity. Bring back the pride, defeat an old rival, and knock off one of the top players in the world, Andy Murray, on home soil. Take the edge back, act like you’ve been there before, and act like you want to stay a member of the elite. Maybe the Serbians and the Czechs are better, but don’t let them want it more. Fuel the crowd, honor the history, and HAVE FUN. Make it more memorable than Boise, and wear those colors like they run in your blood. Let’s go boys.
You’ve always wanted to go to the Australian Open, but haven’t quite figured out how to put it all together. With finding a hotel, purchasing tickets, and planning your excursions around Melbourne and Australia, it’s all too daunting. How should you avoid that stress? Let Grand Slam Tennis Tours plan it for you. With newly redesigned packages that include anywhere from 3-6 hotel nights (along with custom tours), the 2014 Australian Open is shaping up to be the best one yet.
Unlike any of the other Grand Slams, Melbourne Park is right in the city, seamlessly blending the tennis and tourism into one unbelievable vacation. Included in each package are accommodations at either the Stamford Plaza or Langham Hotel, both located a fifteen minute walk from the tennis grounds, as well as in the middle of all the shopping, sightseeing, and everything Melbourne has to offer.
Grand Slam Tennis Tours‘ tickets are phenomenal– some of the best seats in the house in both Rod Laver and Hisense Arenas! Their corporate silver seats in Rod Laver Arena are located 17th row behind the baseline, and they also offer 1st – 3rd rows on the sideline. In Hisense Arena, their seats are situated first row behind the baseline. All the ticket locations are so close that in the past, GSTT clients have been handed the champion’s racket as the players have walked off the court following the final!
On the first night of your travel package, you will attend a welcome dinner with the other tour clients, the Grand Slam Tennis Tours hosts, and the legendary Fred Stolle, winner of 18 Grand Slams! How often to you get to mingle with tennis enthusiasts from around the world and rub elbows with a Tennis Hall of Famer?
For those who love to play tennis, you will also have the opportunity to play tennis at the former site of the Australian Open, The Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, a favorite memory of many past clients. Take a clinic or play some doubles to experience what it’s like to play tennis on the grass—especially a club with such rich history.
The trip doesn’t end in Melbourne, however, as the GSTT representative planning your trip can also book excursions all over Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific to beaches, wineries, and anywhere you’ve always wanted to travel!
A client who traveled to the Australian Open in 2013 wrote this, “It had always been a dream of my wife and mine to go to the Australian Open. As avid tennis fans who recently began our retirement, we decided 2013 would finally be our year. GSTT took care of every stage of the planning. From the moment we stepped onto the plane at LAX, we were able to enjoy the vacation that had been on our bucket list for forty years. The accommodations were wonderful, the staff was friendly, and we got to see Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova in the front row! Another week in New Zealand following the tennis capped off the trip of our lifetime. Everything was so smooth, the only problem now is making the time to attend Wimbledon and Roland Garros!”
If you are ready to check the Australian Open off your bucket list and are anxious to explore new, beautiful parts of the world, then an Australian Open travel package with Grand Slam Tennis Tours is perfect for you. Experience world-class tennis and everything Melbourne has to offer in one package. Let Grand Slam Tennis Tours be your concierge to tennis!
Alongside the USTA’s recent announcement that the first round Tie between the Americans and Great Britain will be played in San Diego, Topnotch Tennis Tours has just released the newest of their always amazing Davis Cup travel packages. From January 31, 2014, to February 2nd, the pinnacle of patriotism and tennis will come together in the sunshine capital of America. Wearing red, white, and blue for country is always something that makes people brim with pride and cheer a little louder, but Jim Courier, the American Davis Cup captain, in selecting the venue, has done something to make it just a little bit MORE American. The temporary stadium will be built in the outfield of Petco Park, the San Diego Padres home stadium.
Topnotch Tennis Tours’ new package takes all the headache of planning your tennis trip to San Diego. The package includes a four night stay at the Hotel Indigo in the Gaslamp quarter, just two blocks from the stadium and featuring a rooftop bar directly overlooking the park. Tickets to all three sessions are included, in either category one or two seating, as well as a welcome dinner, commemorative gift, and services of the tour hosts.
The Davis Cup is unlike any other tennis event in the world. Set up in a team format, it is no longer just a metaphorical ‘boxing-match’ between opponents, but a battle between opponents, sidelines, and the fans. While still largely acknowledged, the hush-hush atmosphere of a tennis match goes out the window giving way to boisterous fans clad in face paint and flags. With Topnotch Tennis Tours, the tour group gets to know each other, sits near each other, and bond as a unit as they dine together, and cheer together in a situation you could never replicate at any other tennis event. That is why people who attend a Davis Cup fall in love, and come back year after year.
It is the first time a Davis Cup Tie will be played in a baseball stadium, and the first time the Americans have chosen an outdoor clay court since 1992. Since the top American men, currently John Isner and Sam Querrey, rely on booming serves and forehands, the surface of choice has almost always been quick indoor hard courts. The strategy being employed by Jim Courier, the US Davis Cup Captain, in choosing an outdoor clay court, is likely playing to the weakness of Britain’s biggest threat, Andy Murray, rather than to the strengths of his stars. Both Isner and Querrey have won clay court titles, while Murray has not. The last time the teams squared off was in Birmingham, AL, in 1999. The Americans prevailed 3-2.
The winner will play the winner of Italy vs. Argentina in the quarterfinals April 4-6.
There are so many great things about the Davis Cup, and this past weekend’s tie in Boise certainly did not disappoint. Exploring new places with new people, eating amazing food, and watching world class tennis are just a few of the highlights, but you can’t break down such an event so generically.
From the moment we arrived in Boise, we were showered with locals’ smiles and hospitality. We were greeted by one of the most interesting, cleanest cities that we have ever been to, and we were presented with one of the more intriguing David Cup match-ups in recent memory. The Serbian team would typically boast one of the strongest lineups in the world, but without Tipsarevic, they’re far from invincible. The Americans, while brimming with talent, decided to showcase their tall, underachieving bombers at singles and the greatest doubles tandem in history fresh off a loss in Jacksonville.
Assuming Djoker would win his two matches, if Isner moved his feet a little bit and managed to win a few tiebreakers, and Querrey kept reaching to fill the potential he’s been showing of late, I figured we would still have a shot! I mean, the Bryans certainly couldn’t lose, right? Of course not. Wait, what? They did? Nobody saw that one coming. They were flummoxed in five incredible sets by Nenad Zimonic (one of the greats) and an absolute no-name, Ilija Bozoljac, who served with the confidence, pace, and variation of Pete Sampras.
Gotta hand it to the Serbs on that one, it was one of the best doubles matches I have ever seen. At that point, the Americans’ confidence ran out and the already pathetic support from the American bench became downright uninterested. It was embarrassing, really. It was no surprise that Djokovic then clinched the tie in downright convincing fashion on a bum ankle, no less.
Luckily, here at Grand Slam Tennis Tours, we don’t attend these event just for the tennis, but for the tennis travel experience. Where the Americans’ tennis fell short, the experience for us and all of our clients exceeded expectations. From our beautiful hotel located in the middle of downtown, to our tremendous dinner at Chandler’s Steakhouse, and a private party and raffle after Saturday’s tennis during the Final Four, Boise helped us play host to a very special weekend.
Typically, our clients are big tennis fans, some fanatical, and some completely obsessed with the game. On this trip, however, one of our most excited clients hardly knew anything about tennis before she got to Boise, and left an avid fan. Hearing her version of the weekend is much more compelling than the ramblings of someone surrounded by the game for twenty years, so with that, meet Kris Carpenter!
“I mostly wanted to come to the Davis Cup because I love catching bits of TV with the tennis stars when they make the crazy “HuuuuH!!” sounds when they hit the ball. Just wanted to hear it myself for real. I’m not a tennis player, didn’t know much about tennis, and didn’t even really know what the Davis Cup was – besides a tennis tournament between really good players who play on teams for their countries. My 87 year old mother-in-law, Janet (Granny) Carpenter is a tennis fanatic! Granny started talking about the Davis Cup being in Boise a couple of months ago. How she’d love to go. How amazing it was that it would be in Boise. How some of the best players in the world would be playing. Then she said this really great company was doing a trip there. (She’s done other Grand Slam Tennis Tour trips before.) She said they always get the best seats, stay in really nice hotels, that you meet really interesting people from all over the country, and that they really take good care of you. Oh and that the tennis is unbelievable because you are up close and in the action. So, since no one else was offering to go with her, I said, “Hey, I’ll go with you.” Done deal.
Kris’s Grand Prize raffle win of a free trip to the next USA home Davis Cup Tie
She was right. Grand Slam Tennis Tours was quite a big deal. They chose a great hotel in a nice location. Nice because it was close to many local sights, restaurants and shopping when we weren’t at the matches. The first night they hosted a really nice dinner for all the tour guests to give us a chance to meet some of our new tennis mates. The shuttles to and from the matches were provided. And the seats were the best! Front & center. Being that close, I was in awe of the amazing physical shape the players are in. (Still can’t believe Novak Djokovic played and won after twisting his ankle like that.)
So, I can now keep score, pronounce a few Serbian names, and know why it’s so addicting. Unbelievable! After the nerve wracking doubles match, GSTT took us to a Pub to watch the Final 4 Basketball and treated us to drinks and food (again). They gave away a ton of prizes to their guests that night. I am so lucky! I won the GRAND PRIZE!!! A trip for 2 to the next home USA Davis Cup tie!
So, don’t be thinking that my mother-in-law didn’t immediately let me know why I was there! Now we both have something really special to look forward to!”
All in all, the Davis Cup in Boise was an excellent event. We saw incredible tennis, made new friends, and got to know a beautiful new city. A big thanks from the GSTT team to all the clients who traveled with us, and we hope to meet more of you on our tours in the future!