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Best Five Tennis Stadiums in the World
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Tennis architecture can be traced from the origins of the sport at Wimbledon. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club that organizes ‘The Championships’ at the current site situated at Church Road in South West London used to have a small facility at Worple Road where the grass court Grand Slam was hosted from 1877 to 1922. This was the first instance of what you call an apt Tennis Stadia that had stands for the spectators to watch their beloved stars from close quarters.
However, as Tennis grew in significance and its popularity reached mammoth proportions, multiple venues have been erected since then and out of all of them there are certain venues that have an extra-special magic because of their sheer size, or due to their atmosphere or owing to their location. Visiting these stadiums hold a special place in the hearts of the fanatics as for them it is a sort of a pilgrimage that they take to pay their homage to their favorite players.
TennisEarth offers you the sneak-peek into the best five tennis stadiums around the world after assessing them on the accounts of style, history, capacity and the event’s popularity. From the traditional Wimbledon Centre Court to the stunning Monte Carlo Country Club, this is a must read top five countdown!
1. Centre Court, All England Club, London
There’s no better place in the world to watch a game of tennis than the famed Centre Court as it produces the most beautiful images of the sport. The overall look and the feel inside the ‘Home of Tennis’ is so refreshing that one feels overawed by the occasion. From the customary plain white attires that the contestants are asked to wear, to the natural daylight that appears to illuminate the hallowed turf in an astounding manner, to the grayish backdrop of the viewers sitting perfectly close to the performers and to the history that has been carved out year after year, one can only illustrate the opportunity to be at SW19 as special.
According to veteran tennis journalist Bud Collins Wimbledon has been able to defy the pressures of commercialism and has managed to retain its magic and its inimitable mores. He states: "Ivy and flowers still cover the grounds, strawberries and cream are still offered, and the matches are still played on 'God's own sod' - grass." To sum up, the magnitude of a Centre Court look can only be projected by the Rudyard Kipling quotation that could be found written on its entrance gate: “If you can meet with triumph and disaster/ And treat those two imposters just the same.”
2. Court Central, Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo
The atmosphere within Court Central is electrifying, the setting serene and the scenery, breathtakingly beautiful and startling - and a touch awe-inspiring! Surrounded by the rocky Provence hills from one side and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea on the other, it can be hailed as the most impeccably located tennis showground in the globe.
The club, which dates back to the 1920s, has been constructed on a chain of shelves overlooking the glittering blue waters. The court is wonderfully landscaped, with palm trees, vivacious colors and magnificent views. The USP of the manicured clay-court is that one can even have a cozy lunch with one’s girlfriend/wife in one of the restaurants on the terrace of the stadium, while keeping an eye on the action all the time.
3. Stadium 1, Indian Wells Tennis Garden, California
The second largest tennis stadium with a seating capacity of 16, 100 fans is the home of the first Masters/Premier tournament of the year – the BNP Paribas Open. Just like the Monte Carlo Country Club, the playground in the Californian desert is blessed with a stunning natural backdrop as the marvelously planned venue is rightly situated in the middle of the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Here, the sandy-colored peaks meet the heavens face-to-face in a smudge of bumps and fissures.
A line up of green hard courts, adorned by palm trees at both ends, somehow appears pretty rather than reminiscent of a flood of concrete. The atmosphere in the wasteland’s rectangular arena is simply magnificent as the people are quite friendly and the mood moderately festive. With beautiful blue skies and the striking mountains in the background, it is a perfect setting for an entertainment night-out of tennis.
4. Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, Melbourne
The Rod Laver Arena (RLA) is the main show-court of the ‘Happy Slam’ – the Australian Open. With the Melbourne skyline visible from the distance and the back of the court left in shade – the imagery of the ‘RLA’ is surely pompous. The environment is sociable, tranquil and party-like. The excitement in the air is palpable as it is the most intimate stadium on the earth, i.e., even if an aficionado is sitting 15 rows back he never feels detached from action.
Additionally, the blue Plexicushion turf that was installed on the arena has now become the new emblem of the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific. The latest look is more appealing and evokes images of the oceanic ‘True Blue’ concept in the minds of the Australians who are nuts about their beaches. The retractable roof of the court saves the fans and the players from the blistering heat and the hot winds that make life miserable for them.
5. Qi Zhong Stadium, Shanghai
Rounding-off the top-5 is the Qi Zhong stadium – the address of the only elite men’s tennis event in Asia. The arena that has the capacity of 15,000 spectators is an architectural marvel as the structure of the stadium, called ¡®tension ring structure' creates strong and reliable Colosseum-shape. At night, the exterior of the centerpiece is lit up and its faint glow can be seen for some distance as you approach the sports ground. Atop the lights sit eight gigantic conglomerations of metal that each resembles a single magnolia petal.
The Flower stadium as it is popularly known has a steel roof with 8 petal-shaped pieces to remind you of Shanghai’s city flower the blooming Magnolia. The roof takes 8 minutes to open or close as ‘8’ is believed to be the most propitious number by the Chinese. The comfort of the fans has been given special attention in this enormous structure as in the summer, cold air comes down from the top of the building to the floor of the round stadium and in the winter, warmed air by ducting system under spectators' seats is sent directly to the viewers.
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