Tennis season really is well under way. The big hitters, baseline huggers and sleight of handers are back out on court showing us how it’s done. And we’re pretty damn excited about the whole thing.
Whether you’re big on tennis – or just a little curious – you’ll likely spend some time in 2017 watching the best in the world take to the clay, grass, carpet and hard courts as they battle against each other for supremacy.
With the Australian Open put to bed, we thought it was about time to look ahead at what’s to come and which tournaments to get down in your diaries!
Each with their own distinctive feel and fan favourites, let’s explore what makes these competitions so, so special…
1. MIAMI OPEN
First up is the Miami Open. An easy pick for our lineup, this is an incredible display of why the US is so pivotal to world tennis. First held in Florida in 1985, the tournament was originally pushed by founder and former player Butch Buchholz to be the first major tournament of the year – as the Australian Open used to be held in December – calling it the “Winter Wimbledon”.
The tournament, which takes place at Crandon Park’s Tennis Center and pulls in enormous crowds upwards of 300,000! Coming soon, this is definitely one to watch.
- The 2017 tournament is due to be played from 20th March to 2nd April
- The men’s final has been called off 3 times in the tournament’s history
- It’s known by tennis fans and players as the “unofficial fifth slam”
- Attendance has peaked at over 300,000
- Tennis legend Andre Agassi won this event at the tender age of 19
2. MONTE CARLO MASTERS
Serving up some spectacular scenes and weather to match, Monte Carlo plays host to another hotly anticipated ATP World Tour Masters 1000 showdown. The tournament’s long history started in 1897 when Brit Reggie Doherty took glory in straight sets (the four-time Wimbledon champion went on to win at Monte Carlo an awesome 7 times in total!).
It wasn’t until 1979 that the Monte Carlo Masters became an ‘Open’ event. And then in 2009, it took on the status as the only World Masters 1000 tournament without a mandatory player entry commitment. Although most of the top pros still choose to take part – a testament to the pull of this unique competition.
- This year’s tournament dates are 15th-23rd April
- Despite its name, the Monte Carlo Masters is actually held in the French commune of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
- In 2000, Cedric Pioline became the competition’s first and only French winner
- It is broadcasted in over 80 different countries worldwide
- In 2006, the Masters celebrated its 100th edition
3. FRENCH OPEN
The French Open – or Roland Garros – is the only Grand Slam event held on clay, and the competition that signals the end of the clay-court season. Established in 1891, the French Major is known for being a gruelling test of physicality due to its slow-playing surface.
Unlike the US Open, where Americans have dominated the court since its humble beginnings, the intense competitive nature of Roland Garros has proven a tough challenge for French natives, with a largely Spanish cohort taking glory in their place.
- The French Open is scheduled to take place 22nd May-11th June this year
- The oldest person to win the singles title was Andres Gimeno (34 years old)
- Tennis legends Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Fred Perry, Martina Hingis and Jimmy Connors all failed to win the prestigious tournament
- The shorted ever final (Steffi Graf vs Natasha Zvereva) ended in straight sets, lasting a mere 32 minutes
- Approximately 65,000 tennis balls are used every year at the tournament
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Sitting pretty at the top of many a best tennis tournaments in the world round up, if you haven’t heard of Wimbledon you’ve probably been living in a dark, dark cave since birth.
Steeped in heritage, Wimbledon’s roots go way back to 1877. Held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club the tournament is widely considered to be the world’s most prestigious tournament. It’s finely preened grass courts have seen some incredible scenes over the years and it’s one that generates tons of excitement from all over the globe.
- Wimbledon has announced it’s dates for 2017: 3rd July-16th July
- The longest match ever played lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes
- Wimbledon use a harris hawk named Rufus to ward off pigeons
- 28,000 kilos of strawberries are sold every year
- The retractable roof on Centre Court weighs 1,000 tonnes
5. US OPEN
Hosted on the hard courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows (New York City), this competition has seen some superb tennis matches down the years.
First held 1881 on the green stuff at Newport Casino, Rhode Island – before moving to West Side Tennis Club (clay) in 1917, and then Flushing Meadows (hard) in 1978 – the tournament is the fourth and final Major of the year. It’s run by the non-profit United States Tennis Association (USTA) – with proceeds going towards the development of the sport in the United States.
- The 2017 US Open starts 28th August, with the final match taking place on 10th September
- It’s the only Grand Slam that employs tiebreakers in every set of a match
- The Arthur Ashe Stadium Court is the biggest stadium court in the world with a capacity of 23,200
- The US Open has the biggest prize pot in world tennis
- It was the first Grand Slam tournament to host night matches and use hawk-eye
6. SHANGHAI MASTERS
Last up – and the youngest event on our list (beginning in 1996) the Shanghai Masters has fast emerged as fan favourite in global tennis. Matches in the singles and doubles are played over the course of 8 days – with the event unravelling at the Qizhong Arena.
China sees nearly 150,000 spectators descend upon its second most populated city to watch the pros grind it out as the race for the tour really begins to heat up. The atmosphere in the main court at capacity has its own feel, one that’s not easy to forget.
- The proposed dates for the 2017 edition of the Shanghai Masters are 8th-15th October
- The hard court stadium’s 8 piece retractable roof in the shape of a magnolia flower, the city’s symbol
- The tournament is the penultimate ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event
- 2017 will see the ninth edition of the Shanghai Masters as an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event (previously part of the ATP International Series)
- The tournament’s slogan is “Simply the Best”