The tennis season is already in full swing. As usual, much of the interest is in the ‘Big Four’, Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Nadal. What can we expect from them this season? Will Djokovic remain unconquerable? Can Federer, one of the most talented players of all time, take a final Grand Slam? Murray can take another step and match the Tour’s best defensive with an even sharper offensive, and Nadal may regain the role of a clay king. Responses to date indicate that Djokovic is just as uncompromising as before but challengers do not rest on their laurels. The big question mark over Nadal is that he has not been quite the same in the spring.
Can anyone seriously challenge the Big Four? Probably not but there are enough players who can challenge occasionally when everything falls into place. If we look into the crystal ball, it is unlikely any of the trio of Wawrinka, Raonic or possibly Tsonga can challenge the Big Four in the Grand Slams.
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Where should we travel to experience the world of tennis?
The ATP Tour is packed with high profile tournaments that are worth a visit. In late May, of course, attention turns towards Paris and Roland Garros. Here you can enjoy spring with a glass of dry wine along the Seine in the French capital while enjoying the unofficial World Championship on clay. Roland Garros, incidentally, is close to Zlatan and PSG’s stadium Parc de Princes only a few blocks away. Did you know that Roland Garros was a French aviator who was the first to fly over the Mediterranean Sea, which took place in 1913? Garros participated in the First World War as a fighter pilot and he was shot down in 1915 and landed behind the German lines. He managed, however, to escape from a POW camp and returned to France. Roland Garros continued as a flight pilot but was shot down again in 1918 over Ardennes.
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After Paris it’s the turn of grass with a few intense weeks of Wimbledon in south London as the culmination. Wimbledon, a Grand Slam, is the best experience. It is where you have the opportunity to be close to the action, and to the stars, on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Wimbledon is as much a social event as a tennis tournament. Here royalty and other celebrities mingle along with the tennis elite. Wimbledon is also the tournament that cares for etiquette rules more than any other tournament; it is required that players wear all white, and those in the top seating areas must also don proper outfits. In 2015 Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton wanted to take his place in the hospitality area without the proper dress code and was politely but firmly refused. The organisation behind the Wimbledon state “Wimbledon is not a beach in Marbella.” Aside from tennis, the city of London is there to be explored. There is something for all tastes, or as the British writer Samuel Johnson once said: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
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The ATP series moves to North America in late July to the fast hard courts with the US Open in New York as the highlight. New York still offers summer weather in early September, and here you can also expect a great atmosphere at a soccer or hockey match.
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If we look beyond the Grand Slam there are of course also a large number of tournaments and destinations that are worth visiting. Rome in mid-May usually attracts all top players, with an atmosphere at Foro Italico which reminds of earlier times gladiatorial games at the Coliseum. Toronto in July and Shanghai in September also tend to attract the largest names. Between the airport and the city center in Shanghai you may travel by the famous magnetic train which runs at up to 430 km per hour. There is also the world’s largest Disneyland not far away, which will be opened in June 2016.
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Do not miss the chance to round off the season with the ATP finals in London in November where the eight best players in the world rankings compete for astonishing $ 7.5 million. We must not forget the Swedish tournament in Bastad, the Swedish Open in July that will always be high up among the players themselves. The Women’s Tournament includes Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber from Germany this year.
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See you at the centre-court!