The U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championship is coming back to the Racquet Club February 8th – 16th. Take a look at these six insider tips for making the most of your trip to the tournament. Then, enter our contest to win tickets.
** Update: Congratulations to "Chris" and "Laura" from the comments section – you've won a pair of tickets each! Thanks to everyone who commented. **
1. Go to the celebrity exhibition match.
Boris Kodjoe (actor) and Mark Goodfellow (the local 'it's all good!' car guy) will team up against the Byran Brothers for a doubles exhibition match on Monday night. The Bryan Brothers have been ranked no. 1 in the world for a very long time, won Olympic gold medals in 2012, and are basically the best doubles team in the world. I hear Goodfellow is fairly serious tennis player, and Kodjoe was a tennis star in college. My point is, this should be entertaining.
2. Hit the Svedka Party Deck.
If you prefer your tennis watching with a drink in hand, you can get tickets to the Svedka Party Deck on the Club Level. A regular chair seat to the tourney is $40, but Party Deck tickets are $45, which includes complimentary Svedka vodka drinks, beer, wine, and a few snacks. The deck will be open each night of the tournament and all day during the finals weekend. Speaking of party, there's also a Ladies' Happy Hour with Boris Kodjoe on Monday. Or you can get a Valentine's Day package that includes match tickets, dinner at the Racquet Club, and drink tickets.
3. See some talent.
I already talked about the cred for the Bryan Brothers (see no. 1 above), but they're not the only top-ranked tennis players coming. Vasek Pospisil is ranked no. 25; he plays on Wednesday night. Feliciano Lopez is ranked no. 28 in the world and is playing on Thursday. The Memphis tournament champion from last year, Kei Nishikori (ranked no. 18) is coming back to defend his title. Even if those names aren't familiar to you, you can count on some great tennis from some world-class talent.
4. Get player photos and autographs.
Because the Racquet Club is more intimate than other venues and the players don't use any secret tunnels to get around, it's easy to see the big deal athletes up close. Your best bet: wait outside of the Championship Hall 15 to 20 minutes before the start of the match to snap pictures and be generally encouraging. If you're after autographs, repeat the process at the end of the match. Just don't be that guy who's bothering the players as they're trying to get ready to play.
5. Find a place to park.
Since the Racquet Club is located in the middle of the city, parking can be tough. You could park in Sanderlin, but the spots go quickly. You could support the Boy Scouts by parking in one of the lots that they manage near the Paradiso and Clark Tower. Or, skip the crowds and park at St. Louis School on White Station. There's a shuttle that runs from the school to the tournament beginning at 5 p.m., but it's an easy (and safe) walk if you don't want to wait.
If you're going over to that Sanderlin/Whole Foods/Paradiso area at all during the tourney (especially on the weekend) you might want to look into options like riding your bike, getting a friend to drop you off, parachuting, teleportation…In all seriousness, just make sure you leave plenty of time to park for any activites in that area. I'll be doing the latter when I check out the tournament for the first time this year (yay!).
6. Skip paying for tickets by entering our contest.
The Racquet Club and I are giving away two pairs of tickets to the session of your choice. To enter, just comment on this post by 12 p.m., Wedesday, Feb. 5 and tell me why you want to go to the tournament, who you'd take as your tennis "date", and which session you'd choose.
Did you know the trophy for the U.S. Nationals Indoor Championships has some Memphis flair? Check out this fancy guitar/racquet trophy situation.