Mastering the Monte Carlo Masters

Written By: achangeofends - Apr• 15•10


Monte Carlo loves tennis! Last weekend I had the pleasure of crossing an item off my to-do list for life. I visited Monaco. Luckily, my free weekend coincided with the beginning of the Monte-Carlo Masters Tennis Tournament. The Tournament is held at a private club in Monaco, situated directly on the coast and backed by the French Alps. The prospect of watching tennis amongst the rich and famous at the Monte-Carlo Country Club (MCCC) was very enticing and the atmosphere was wonderful. Fans seemed very excited and the Club was far less pretentious than I was expecting, and more importantly the merchandise was reasonably priced (unlike the food.)

Unfortunately, my day at the Masters was cut short by some bad weather, but I still managed to catch a few practice sessions and a match between Andrey Golubev and Arnaud Clement. The centre court at MCCC is a spectacular venue to watch a match because it’s very small. There really are no bad seats. My friend and I paid about 25 euro each for seats about four or five rows up from the court. Loge seats are even available for a mere 60 euro (at the beginning of the tournament). This is a big pro for the Monte Carlo event seeing as it is a Masters 1000 event but has the more intimate feel of a smaller tournament. If you see my post below on the Rotterdam 500 event, you’ll notice how much I enjoyed watching the players’ practice sessions. While Monte Carlo Centre Court was much better for a spectator than Rotterdam, the practices courts left me wanting. The practice courts are sealed off with opaque mesh so you cannot see in from the ground level. There are bleachers and an upper deck where you can watch the various courts. It is hard to maneuver between courts and there is minimal seating. However, my biggest complaint was the lack of protection from the elements. I mentioned that MCCC is right on the water, which means that there can be a significant breeze. This also means that the clay has a tendency to kick up in the wind. By the end of Paul Henri Mathieu’s practice session, I was completely covered in clay. I spent the rest of the day trying to get tiny specs out of my eyes and teeth. Although, I’m sure my discomfort was only a fraction of what the players must have felt. For part of the Golubev/Clement match, it looked more like a sand storm than a tennis match.

Even though I returned to London absolutely freezing and covered in clay from head to toe, I still had a lovely time at the tournament. One of the best surprises of the weekend was learning how much of an impact the tournament has on Monaco. It seemed like tennis was absolutely everywhere you looked. I took the picture above on the way to our hotel when I noticed this masterpiece in a cake-shop window. It seemed like everywhere we went, there were small signs, or in many cases big signs, that the tournament was coming (like the giant tennis racquet pictured above right outside the Grand Casino.)

For me the most exciting part of the weekend was the opportunity to observe some of the players off the court and outside the realm of the tournament. Monaco is such a small country that if you wonder through certain parts of Monte Carlo, you’re bound to run in to one of the numerous players staying there. Spotting the rich and famous isn’t uncommon in Monaco, so you have to have a keen eye for spotting players or you might miss them. My friend and I walked the entire length of the country on Saturday night looking for dinner. While it was an incredibly quiet walk, we did walk past Julien Benneteau out with a friend and a couple of girls, most likely on their way to dinner before the Players’ Party at Zelo’s in the Grimaldi Forum. We kept walking, until we reached the Monte Carlo Bay Resort, which was playing host to the Anti-Aging Conference for the weekend. The Monte Carlo Bay Resort is one of several Monaco establishments which sponsor the tournament and clearly where most of the players choose to stay. While eating dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, I spotted Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo, Tomas Berdych, and Marin Cilic. I have to say my friend was most likely fed up with my lack of attention as I tried to decide how everyone in the restaurant was related to the tournament and watch out for players at the same time.

All in all, I would again recommend this tournament to almost any fan. Monaco is a beautiful country and spectators won’t be able to avoid being enchanted by the glamour of the whole event.

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One Comment

  1. Jacquie says:

    Haha, I wasn't mad at you…as long as you didn't mind me continuing to babble! I know you can multi task, unlike me 😛

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