By Abigail Hinto
My friend and I decided to go to Madrid a day earlier than planned when the Madrid Open announced a tournament players party open to the public who were willing to buy tickets for the event. Fifty euros for a ticket which gave us entry to the party and to Sundayâ€™s matches with all day all court access and with first round womenâ€™s matches taking place it was a good ticket to have. So we changed our bookings to get to Madrid for the tennis and the Sunday party.
A bit about the location of the tournament. It’s located at the south east at the outskirts of the city. Using the metro, it’s easy to get there. But once we got off at the station, we were surprised at the absence of big posters and signs telling you there’s a big tennis tournament going on.
We walked the opposite way of Caja Magica, and asking a local where it was, he didn’t know what we were talking about. The walk to the stadium from the metro is also a bit of a trek. Still no signs, we found our way by following a tournament car.
Once inside, we familiarized ourselves the layout of the grounds. In the middle is an enclosed atrium where on one side you have the Manolo Santana court and on the other side the Sanchez-Vicario court and Court 1. Then you go downstairs to get access to the smaller and practice courts. It’s a bit of a trek to go from the main courts to the smaller courts and the practice courts are paired up that you only get to see two courts at a time. When we arrived, Andy Murray was practicing on court and at the far end were David Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero engaged in a practice match. We decided to go sit at the Ferrer-Ferrero practice but it was just impossible to get in. I do love their main courts though. Even in the nosebleed section, the players don’t feel too far away.
The spanish crowd were clearly passionate about their players, with the jam-packed Ferrer-Ferrero practice, shouting “vamos, Nico” every chance they got in Nicolas Almagro‘s losing battle against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Â hounding Marcel Granollers and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez for autographs.
As for the players partyÂ held at the Teatro Kapital – it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. A handful of players attended â€“ Alize Cornet, Marcel Granollers, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, Rohan Bopanna, Mark Knowles, Stanislas Warinka, and Vania King.
But wait someone unexpected did show up… retired player Marat Safin!
Abigail Hinto will be back in Madrid on Wednesday to cover all the action when all the top seeds play.