I have only just returned from a one-week-long trip from London and embarrassingly, I have to admit, I barely went out of Zone 3 during the time I was there. Instead, I spent most of my time standing in the cold waiting for Novak Djokovic – for those who do not know who that is, he’s only the current number one male tennis player in the world – to make an appearance and when I wasn’t doing that, I could probably be found watching one of his matches inside the arena at the O2 in North Greenwich.
The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the year-end tournament where the top eight players in the world compete against each other, has been based in London since 2009 and I have been lucky enough to be able to go there since 2010 bar last year when I had just moved to Turkey and was still settling in. As prestigious as it sounds, this year’s matches have been a complete bummer in terms of quality and competition, although it’s always a pleasure to see your fave up close, especially after two years of not seeing any live tennis. It completely is different from watching on your crappy laptop using one of the illegal streams that haven’t been blocked
yet. I did get a little bit excited at everything, and not just about the tennis: you do realise it’s been a long time since you lived in London when you get excited at something as simple as self checkout!
This tournament is hands down the best I have ever been to, not that I have been to many: I’ve managed to do only Wimbledon, Queen’s Club and Eastbourne apart from this one, although that is definitely gonna change in the very near future. It has a fan zone which offers some entertainment and player interaction and ran competitions to win tickets for the different sessions. There was a reason why I extended my stay from four days to a whole week (I ended up buying a new return ticket); I simply couldn’t get enough of it and the whole thing was definitely worth the expense. It also helped that we won tickets for some sessions as well as cheap ones from viagogo.co.uk even with its outrageous 15% service fee, which meant that I could how justify (to myself) the money spent – someone please remind me to book flexible flights next time.
We stayed at Travelodge in East India for the two nights which came down to less than £30 pnpp, which obviously was not the cheapest option but convenient as it was only 10 minutes away on the tube from the venue. Whilst I definitely enjoyed the massive bed in the room and tea/coffee making facilities, the lack of free wifi (only 30 minutes free in 24 hr), however, was sort of a downer, especially when I didn’t have access to 3G on my phone.
Next year’s trip should definitely be better planned, not last minute as this one was.