When I was really young, my parents used to wake me up early in the morning (around 4 am) and take me to the Hindu Temple in Tirupathi. We used to drive for a few hours, stand in really long lines, harsh weather conditions and pay a lot of money to watch God from a close proximity while we could have watched it for free from home on TV. I never understood their motivation back then but I finally get it now!! I recently went to Indian Wells in California to watch the BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament and got to watch Federer play.
Here are some tips for you to consider, if you plan to go sometime -
Level - If you can afford the money, I’d highly recommend the seats in the lower level. This gets you a lot closer to the action and the experience is memorable. Tip - Get the cheapest tickets in the lower level - Do not worry too much about the actual seat position. You can easily walk down and take any vacant seat (there were a lot of them during the day).
Direction - I personally prefer seats directly behind the players (as opposed to on the sides). This gives you a straight view and you’ll have a good view of the game. Here are some of my favorite locations -
Front row directly behind the player - If you want to see the players hustle.
Corner Seat Aisle (where baseline and side lines intersect) and 10 rows back - If you want the best view of the shots. You could also walk down at the end for an autograph.
Preparing for the Trip
I found the following things useful -
Cash - They accept only cash in the parking lot ($20).
Hat - It gets really hot here (close to 100F). You can also carry an umbrella.
Tee and shorts - Wear material that wicks sweat. It’s really really hot here.
Sunscreen - It’s really really really hot here.
A cloth - To cover any part of your body exposed to sun. Seriously, it’s hot here.
Water Bottle - Don’t forget this!!
Battery Charger - To charge your mobile phone when you take a lot of photos/videos.
At the venue
Get here early - You’ll get good parking seats, avoid the crowd and get to watch really good players at the practice courts.
Practice Courts - If you’re keen on getting an autograph, the practice courts are your best chance.
Courts 2-7 - You can enter the other courts without a ticket and if you like any match, just drop by and catch the action.
I was lucky enough to catch 3 Greatest of All Time (GOAT) Tennis players and here’s a quick summary of my experience -
Rafael Nadal - Lookout for the superstitions, the hustle and the struggle. Don’t miss the forehand inside-out winners :)
Novak Djokovic - Watch how he focuses once he’s down a break. Also, this guy is a machine and returns whatever is thrown at him.
Roger Federer - Don’t blink! It could be over sooner than you think :D
I’ll be back again!
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