2015 Memphis Open Tennis Tournament: Seven Insider Tips
The Memphis Open is back at the Racquet Club February 7th – 15th, and this year is full of upgrades and updates to go with a shiny new name. Take a look at these seven insider tips for making the most of your trip to the tournament. (Ticket contest is over.)
1. Go to the celebrity exhibition match on Monday, Feb. 9.
Before Opening Night matches, Tennis Hall of Famer Michael Chang and former No. 4 world ranking player James Blake will play a just-for-fun entertaining exhibition match. You can get a special ticket for dinner, open bar, and meet 'n' greet with Chang and Blake. Bonus: cast members from the Lion King musical (which is now playing at the Orpheum) will perform.
2. Hit the M.O. Fan Village
Inside the Racquet Club will be a "fan village" where you can eat, drink, shop for M.O. merch, and enjoy live music each night before the matches. There will also be a big screen in the Fan Village featuring social media interactions. You know everyone likes to see their Tweets on the big screen. (You can follow the Memphis Open on Twitter and Facebook.)
3. See some talent.
This year the Memphis Open's player field is full of some of the best tennis players in the world. We have No. 5 in the world Kei Nishikori from Japan back as the two-time defending champion, plus Kevin Anderson and John Isner, Nos. 15 and 18, respectively. Even if those names aren't familiar to you, you can count on some great tennis from some world-class talent. Go here to see a full list of the singles and doubles players scheduled to play at the Memphis Open.
4. 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 Stadium Court 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.
5. Find a place to park.
Since the Racquet Club is located in the middle of the city, parking can be tough. You could park on Sanderlin, but the spots go quickly (and are $20). You could support the Boy Scouts by parking in one of the lots that they manage near the Paradiso and Clark Tower ($7-$10). Go here to read all the parking details.
If you're going over to that Sanderlin/Whole Foods/Paradiso area at all during the tourney (especially on the weekend) you might want to look into options like riding your bike, getting a friend to drop you off, parachuting, teleportation…In all seriousness, just make sure you leave plenty of time to park for any activities in that area.
The new Stadium Court construction in-progress via Memphis Open on Facebook. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a time-lapse video fo the court's transformation.
6. Check out the new setup and features.
The Memphis Open (formerly known at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championship) is still at the Racquet Club in East Memphis, but the setup is going to see some improvements, including the new M.O. Fan Village (see #2 above), a reorientation of the court for more fan-friendly atmosphere, and new lighting for the Grandstand area. Portions of the proceeds of merch will go towards St. Jude, the official charity of the Memphis Open. Oh yes, and there's going to be more food this year.
7. Skip paying for tickets by entering our contest.
*** The ticket giveaway is over! Congrats to our winners Paul, Sam, Aaron, and Colton ***
I'm giving away four pairs of tickets (all $25 value each). Here is what's available:
– 2 pairs for Feb. 9 at 11 a.m.
– 1 pair for Feb. 12 at 11 a.m.
– 1 pair for Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
To enter, just comment on this post by 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6 and tell me which session you want. In order to claim the tickets, you have to be able to pick them up in person at the Memphis CVB (47 Union Ave.) downtown between now and the date of the tournament or meet me in midtown sometime before the tournament.