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10 Nov 2014

Getting the most out of ATP

If you have never experienced the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which begins on Sunday 9 November 2014, you have never experienced the spectacular heights a live tennis match can be elevated to.

The O2 arena is dark. Spotlights crisscross over the audience who are hyped and ready; you can sense them waiting, nervously, excitedly, for their idols to appear. Suddenly, large doors swing open; dry ice billows out through the bright light shining beyond them. The anticipation heightens. Who is about to step into the light and walk out? Beyoncé? Robbie Williams? Lady Gaga?

A voice booms over the tannoy, ’Ladies and Gentlemen, the world number two and defending champion, Novak Djokovic!’ Pumping music floods the space and accompanies the man who emerges as he walks through the darkness to the centre of the arena. The crowd erupts. Screams and whistles fill the air and thousands of camera flashes light up the darkness like twinkling stars.

Djokovic is a star, but not the rock star that his entrance was comparable with. He was walking out to take part in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals finale 2013, where two of the world’s greatest modern day tennis players entertained the 17,800 fans who’d come to see them with rackets, not microphones. It’s the polar opposite of Wimbledon.

It’s far too blue to be the famous courts in SW19 to start with. At The O2, the court, the hoardings round the outside, the officials’ t-shirts,  everything on the arena floor is either a shade of blue or, at the very least, bathed in a cool blue light. It definitely adds to the gig atmosphere, turning a tennis match into something infinitely more spectacular. And if we’re talking about spectacular experiences, there’s also the opportunity to add a little bit more zing to your ticket. General tickets are still available and there are also some stunning hospitality packages.

Four reasons why you should buy a hospitality package:

1) You’ll get the best available seats in the Lower Bowl (that’s on the baseline, or right alongside the court).

2) You’ll get access to an exclusive shared hosting area (Match Club hospitality) or the newly designed hospitality lounge (Match Business Seat hospitality).

3) You can tuck into some delicious food and complimentary drinks.

4) The Match Business Seat hospitality package includes a dedicated hostess and concierge service – you’ll feel like a proper VIP!

And if, after this, you decide that the luxury way of watching an event would be easy to get accustomed to, then The O2 has just what you need. Their VIP Experience allows you access to an account manager who will get you the best seats at any of their public shows, before they even go on general sale!

There is plenty of tennis talent competing. Djokovic will be fiercely defending his title with record-breaker Roger Federer hoping to capture the world number one spot by the end of the tournament. And Murray’s made it! Andy Murray (who is part hologram if his Twitter avatar is to be believed) has just exploded into the last eight after a confident win over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, taking his place alongside the other qualifiers: Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori,Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic.

Both the singles and the doubles line-up are now complete. Murray’s fans are obviously ecstatic. Twitter user @DavidLawTennis summed up the general feeling on social media up with this tweet:

‘The 02 was already going to be brilliant. Now it has a British player in it. Andy #Murray is in. And he can win it. #ATPWorldTourFinals’

Slightly more low key in his excitement is Murray himself, who told Sky Sports News, ‘It's nice. It's a great event to be involved in. It's a fun way to finish the year in London.  They put on a great event there. I'm happy to have qualified.’

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals first arrived at The O2 in 2009 after playing out in cities around the world. The world’s eight best singles players and eight doubles teams come to win and there’s a serious amount of prize money on offer to those who do. The days are now being counted down to the 2014 tournamen.t Between the 9 and 16 November the lucky ones who have bought tickets will be watching the tennis elite end their season in style.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in numbers

1,284,685 – The number of tennis fans who have come to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 arena since 2009.

1,923,000 – The amount of prize money, in dollars, won by Djokovic in 2013.

13 – The number of consecutive occasions that doubles partners Bob and Mike Bryan have qualified for the finals (Federer is also about to appear in his thirteenth successive finals).

193 – The number of territories across the globe that the 2013 tournament was televised in.

403,974 – The amount of people who visited The O2 site during the eight days of the 2013 finals, including the non-ticketed features.

Talking of which…

It’s not all about the live tennis. Ok, so it’s mostly about the live tennis, but in between matches there are plenty of other tennis-related things at The O2 to keep you entertained. Fancy watching the stars of the show warming up? The Fan Zone is home to two practice courts with unreserved (and free) seats, not to mention other tennis-y shops, booths and games to play. Watching all those sports professionals breaking a sweat during their matches is bound to give you an appetite and whether you choose to satisfy it with a burrito or head straight to the Champagne Bar, well, that’s up to you!

For anybody who still hasn’t secured their seat at The O2 maybe this could be the clincher: check out the preview for this year’s tournament.

What are you waiting for? Buy your tickets now and keep up to date with the latest tour news on The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals’ official Twitter feed.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – it’s tennis, but much more rock and roll.

By Rosalind Brookman