Miami Open 2017

_______________________________________
Miami 2017 Introduction: Spring Break in the MIA
Turnberry Isle Miami Review
Miami Open
_______________________________________

Miami Open

On one evening I attended the Miami Open with a friend and his colleague. We bought tickets for a Tuesday night session hoping to see the Federer/Del Potro match but alas they made that match a daytime match instead.

Parking is at a premium in Key Biscayne thus we actually had to park a few islands back and take s shuttle bus over to the event. All in all it wasn’t too bad but there is quite a bit of traffic as you closer to the event.

We arrived just in time for the first match on the main stadium starting at 7pm.  The number 1 seed in the tournament was Stan Wawrinka and so we got to see him play Tunisian Malek Jaziri in a 3rd round match.

We had decent seats on the 300 level that cost about $100/per person. We were in the second row of that level. Continue reading

Attending Wimbledon 2016

________________________________________________________

Intro to London 2016: To See a GOAT on Grass
American Airlines Business Class Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR)
Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Leicester Square
The May Fair Hotel
Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Westminster Abbey
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
Wimbledon AELTC
London Eye
Dining in London
Brexit, London Street Scenes and Red bus tour
British Airways Business Class London (LHR) to Chicago (ORD)
_________________________________________________________________

Wimbledon AELTC

DSC08680
All England Lawn and Tennis Club

One of the main reasons for this entire trip to London was to attend Wimbledon’s annual tennis tournament. It’s the the most prestigious tennis event in the world.  I really wanted to see Roger Federer on Centre Court Wimbledon. He is getting older and you never know how many years he has left.  I am a big Rafa Nadal fan but I can respect Federer and his accomplishments as the GOAT(greatest of all time) of tennis.

I went to London with no tickets hoping I could score some while over there. In the past I have attended the Aussie Open and French Open and was able to easily score tickets ahead of time but Wimbledon is different.  There are just a few ways to get tickets to Wimbledon for the common folks. One way is to enter your name into a raffle in November and they will let you know a few months later if your entry was selected.  I did this but did not get selected. Another way is to “queue”. Literally wait in line overnight or arrive very early 4-5am and wait in line until 10am.  For popular matches the queue actually sells out. Yup the line is so long they tell people to not even bother coming down to get tickets!!  There are days were the grounds are at capacity and you cannot even get a grounds pass!!!! That part was amazing to me.   The third way and how I got my ticket was to go onto the UK’s ticketmaster website the day before the day you want to attend. They release a few hundred tickets at 9am and you just have to be lucky to score Centre Court tickets. I did this and after several attempts at around 9:07am I scored 1 ticket for $100 or 70ish British Pounds.

DSC08637
Sign that awaits you outside the Wimbledon train station

My wife and child went to Harrods while I went to Wimbledon. Our baby could not enter Centre Court for obvious reasons so there was really no point for him or my wife to come. I took the tube/train from our hotel (The May Fair) and it was a fairly easy trip with only one connection and about 45 minutes ride.

Once you get off the train at the station your in Continue reading

Trip Report: Australia (part 15) Australian Open Day Two

_______________________________________________________________________

Introduction
British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare
Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui
Cathay Pacific’s The Wing First Class Lounge HKG
Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Around Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class KUL-MEL
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne
Australia Open Day One (2nd round of tourney)
Around Melbourne
Great Ocean Road Excursion
Australian Open Day Two (4th round of tourney)
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney Opera House Tour
Bondi Beach
Qantas Domestic Business Lounge SYD
Qantas Domestic Business Class SYD-BNE
Qantas Business Class BNE-LAX
_________________________________________________________________________

Australian Open Day Two (4th round of tourney)

DSC00293
Rod Laver Arena

I wanted to attend another day of the Australian Open before we left and it seemed like all the players I wanted to see were in one half of the draw. So the night before I went online in our hotel room to try to get tickets for Rod Laver Arena day session. The reason I wanted day session tickets was because there are three matches played vs only two matches played during the night session. The night session did however showcase Andy Murray vs Grigor Dmitrov which is a huge match up for the 4th round! I went on to Viagogo.com to see what was for sale. I found two tickets at a reasonable price however when I went to purchase them someone else beat me to them and they were gone. I figured it wasn’t meant to be and told my wife we can plan on doing something else on our last day in Melbourne. In the morning when I woke up I checked Viagogo again and did find two E-tickets together and they were decent. The only downside is I had to pay $200usd per ticket but I have no idea if/when I will ever make it back down to Australia so I sprung for the tickets. Continue reading

Trip Report: Australia (part 12) Australian Open Day One

_______________________________________________________________________

Introduction
British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare
Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui
Cathay Pacific’s The Wing First Class Lounge HKG
Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Around Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class KUL-MEL
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne
Australia Open Day One (2nd round of tourney)
Around Melbourne
Great Ocean Road Excursion
Australian Open Day Two (4th round of tourney)
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney Opera House Tour
Bondi Beach
Qantas Domestic Business Lounge SYD
Qantas Domestic Business Class SYD-BNE
Qantas Business Class BNE-LAX
__________________________________________________________________________

Australian Open Day One (day 3 of tourney-2nd round)

DSC09873
The tram entrance to the  2015 Australian Open

I bought our 2015 Australian Open tickets from Ticketek.com.au on October 7th about 12-16 hours after they went on sale to the general public. Ticketek is the official ticket provider of the Australian Open.  I went online and found that every lower level seat was taken/sold for Rod Laver Arena’s day session.  I was able to find some just a few rows up on the 2nd level of the arena and grabbed them!  Two tickets section S42, row DD were $173.32UAD or $86.66AUD per person.  These were also classified as “sun viewing” tickets meaning that you could be exposed to the sun for long periods of time.  They also had some classified as “shade viewing” in which you are fully protected.  We got lucky and the sun only got to our seats at the very end and clouds helped give us some relief as well.   I was lazy this time and did not go online the second seats were being sold but I would advise to go online the second tickets are available to find the best seats possible. I did that for the French Open but was too lazy and forgot to do that this time.

A negative to buying tennis tickets in advance is you pretty much have no idea who your going to see until right before the tournament and the draws are announced. Even then you don’t know because you have to wait till a day or two before to figure out order of play and who will play on what court.  My theory is just to buy show court/main stadium tickets due to them almost always having the best players playing and show courts have roofs in case of inclement weather (well Australian Open has 3 courts with roofs so they are ahead of the curve. US Open and French Open do not have roofs on their show courts at this time). Continue reading

Trip Report: Toronto (part 7) Rogers Cup

_______________________________________________________________

Introduction
Four Points O’Hare
Niagara Falls
Ritz Carlton Toronto
CN Tower
Center Island
Rogers Cup
Four Points Toronto Airport
_______________________________________________________________

Rogers Cup

On Monday we went to watch some first day action of the Rogers Cup.  We took the subway from the Ritz-Carlton north to the Downsview stop where my cousin picked us up.   We had a nice breakfast with the rest of the family and then headed over to the Rogers Cup to watch some tennis.  We had tickets to the main stadium which affords you the option to watch any match at the event for that day (day session runs to about 5pm).  The forecast called for afternoon rain and sadly the forecast was correct.  We were able to watch about 2 full sets of various tennis matches before the rain really started to come down and we then needed to eventually leave to catch our flight home.

The event was very nice.  We watched a match on one of the smaller outside courts with only about 40-50 other people thus we had great seats.  We watched about 6 games before it started drizzling enough to stop play for 30 minutes.  That gave us time to walk around most of the grounds and I bought some small souvenirs from the main tent.  We then went to watch tennis on the main court where the “bigger” names are playing. We got to watch the final set of Cilic vs Istomin and a good chunk of the first set of Lleyton Hewiit vs Julian Benneteau before the rain got worse.  They dried the courts out after about a 40 minute delay however the rain came back and it came down in buckets for a while.

DSC07278
Rexall Center

DSC07279
Main Stadium at Rexall Center

DSC07280
Rogers Cup main entrance

DSC07281
Roger Federer a two-time champion here

DSC07283
Interestingly enough, it happen to be South Asian Day
Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 9) French Open Day Two

 

___________________________________________________________________________
Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

French Open Day two

Our second day at the French Open was going to be exciting for me as I was going to get to see Rafa Nadal play on the main court (Phillipe Chatrier) at the French Open!  This is the court in which he has won eight previous championships!! We had good seats again as these were behind the baseline.  Our tickets as I mentioned in the previous installment were ‘category one’ seats and they costed us around $125 per person (which isn’t to bad when you consider you’re going to get to watch four matches).

We thought we might arrive late due to us once again forgetting our tickets at the hotel! However by the time we got there the woman’s match was still going on before the Nadal match so we had plenty of time and decided to grab a quick bite to eat. By the time we got back the Jankovic vs Nara match was just about done.

Jankovic vs Nara match  (Jankovic won)

DSC06295
Sitting behind the baseline today

DSC06296
Jankovic serving

DSC06298
Game, set, match Jankovic

DSC06299
Grooming the court in between matches


Nadal vs Thiem match (Nadal won this match and the 2014 French Open for his 9th French Open title!)

DSC06302
Make way for the King of Clay Continue reading

Trip Report: Paris (part 8) French Open-Day One

___________________________________________________________________________
Introduction
LOT Business Class Chicago to Warsaw
Hotel du Louvre
The Louvre
Park Hyatt Paris
Notre Dame and adding our “lock of love” to a Parisian bridge
Versailles
French Open (day 1)
French Open (day 2)
Radisson Blu Champs Elysees
Arc de Triomphe and Siene river cruise
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan
Le Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer
Lunch at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower and other Dining options around Paris
LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class WAW-ORD
____________________________________________________________________________

French Open (Day One)

One of the primary reasons for visiting Paris was to attend the French Open.  I have become a big tennis fan over the past several years so this was sure to be a highlight of our vacation!  On March 12th I stayed up late as French Open tickets went on sale at 1am central time zone in the US.  I wanted to make sure we got decent seats so it was worth a late night to ensure we got tickets to the days I wanted to go.  It was a fairly easy process selecting the tickets and you just choose what day(s) you want to attend and then you select what type of ticket you want.  I wanted to make sure to see Rafa Nadal and some of the other players so it is best to go earlier in the tournament as most of the players have not been eliminated yet.  We ended up buying tickets to both days of the 2nd round of the tournament and sitting in Phillipe Chatrier Stadium (which is the main/largest court).  We bought category one seats which were the closest and most expensive seats I could buy.  The box seats that are even closer to the court were mainly corporate tickets or reserved for super expensive VIP packages! Tickets to the French Open can be bought here.

Everything worked out well as it was very easy taking the metro to the Roland Garros stop and pretty much follow all the signs and people.  Amazingly both days my wife and I left the hotel without grabbing our tickets!!!  One day we had to walk a few blocks back to our hotel to grab our tickets and the next day we actually got half way to the tournament on the metro and realized neither of us grabbed the tix!!!

It was a great experience just walking up to the site and getting closer to the event.  You could hear the cheers from the crowd and the smack of the tennis balls on the outside courts. On our first day we got to watch the end of the Venus Williams vs Schmeidlova match, Djokovic vs Chardy, Tsonga vs Melzer, and Sharapova vs Pironkova matches.

It was a cloudy and cool day with the occasion light rain towards the end of the day but otherwise comfortable with a jacket or sweatshirt.  In between matches we would walk around the grounds for a bit and we also grabbed a bit to eat at the tournament as well (hamburgers and fries). We were surprised how limited the food options were at the tournament but made due. We saw some people eating a bag lunch (smart) but otherwise I hope you like ham sandwiches and hotdogs because that was what most concessions stands sold. They also had a fancy buffet area as an option however it was over $50 per person so we passed.

(note: as always, simply click on any picture to enlarge it)

DSC06092

DSC06501

DSC06094  DSC06096 DSC06097 DSC06098 DSC06099 DSC06100 Continue reading