The U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championship is coming back to the Racquet Club February 16th – 24th. Before you put on your tennis whites, check out these five insider tips for making the most of your trip to the tournament. Then, enter our contest to win tickets and tournament gear.
1. Get a Pronto Pup, even though it's winter.
Of course they do. It's a sporting event, it's in Memphis; one would assume that there are Pronto Pups. But really – how often do you get to eat this most heavenly version of corn dog in the winter? Order a foot long (because the 6 inch ones are for amateurs), slather it in mustard and eat it with one hand while you hold a beer in the other.
2. Get player photos and autographs.
Because the Racquet Club is more intimate than other venues and the players don't use any secret tunnels to get around, it's easy to see the big deal athletes up close. Your best bet: wait outside of the Championship Hall 15 to 20 minutes before the start of the match to snap pictures and be generally encouraging. If you're after autographs, repeat the process at the end of the match. Just don't be that guy who's bothering the players as they're trying to get ready to play.
3. Eat in the Players' Club.
If you're looking accidentally-on-purpose run into your favorite athlete without braving the autograph line, go to the Players' Club. During the tournament, the Racquet Club ballroom – a.k.a. the Players' Club – is turned into dining hall where players, coaches and fans can eat together before the evening matches. It's open daily from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
4. Find a place to park.
Since the Racquet Club is located in the middle of the city, parking can be a little tough. You could park on Sanderlin, but the spots go quickly. You could support the Boy Scouts by parking in one of the lots that they manage near the Paradiso and Clark Tower. Or, skip the crowds and park at St. Louis School on White Station. There's a shuttle that runs from the school to the tournament beginning at 5 p.m., but it's an easy (and safe) walk if you don't want to wait.
5. After the tournament, it's the after party.
Don't leave right after the matches are over. There are nighty after parties with live music, snacks, and games in the Players' Club and pub. One of those games is (fittingly) table tennis. You can sign up to play ping-pong against the world class real tennis pros that play every year. On Tuesday night (Feb. 19), doubles team the Bryan Brothers are putting down their racquets and picking up guitars for a concert.
6. Skip paying for tickets by entering our contest.
The Racquet Club and I are giving away two tickets to the session of your choice and some tournament swag (think posters, t-shirts and stickers). To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by 12 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11. Be sure to provide your email address (which won't be given out to anyone) so that I can get hold of you if you win.
***We have a winner! Congrats to Dory B., and thanks to everyone who entered.***
For more information about the tournament and the players and advance tickets go here.