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O2 Arena plays perfect host to season finale

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Jonathan Overend | 18:12 UK time, Sunday, 29 November 2009

The first edition of the ATP World Tour Finals in London was a stunning success with the quality of the tennis providing an uplifting end to the 2009 season.

The crowds were unexpectedly huge, most sessions sold out a 17,500 capacity stadium for a total attendance of more than 250,000, the staging was brave and innovative and, most importantly, the players gave absolutely everything.

You couldn't fault a single one of them for effort (something which hasn't always been the case at this season-closer).

Fernando Verdasco may have lost the three matches he played in Group A but he was close to winning them all. One poor game against Roger Federer, one poor tie-break against Juan Martin del Potro, a deciding tie-break against Andy Murray. He finished 0-3, but it didn't feel like it.

Had Rafael Nadal not shown his customary professionalism, he could have turned up, collected the cheque and rushed to the Davis Cup final in Barcelona.

After a tough year, including a first defeat at the French Open, a serious knee injury and some off-court family issues, Nadal bravely battled through his matches, ultimately outplayed by fitter opponents.

Novak Djokovic and Murray were both unfortunate not to qualify from their respective groups. Two wins from three matches would normally be sufficient, but not this year.

That left us with a surprising semi-final line up - featuring only one member of the so-called "big-four" - yet one which clearly represented the best performers of the week so far.

And on a sparkling semi-finals day, we had Nikolay Davydenko's first victory over Federer in 13 attempts and Del Potro's edge-of-the-seat comeback win over Robin Soderling.

The two matches included some of the shots of the season. There was Federer's leaping overhead smash from the baseline and Del Potro's running backhand up the line.

The comfy seats, from which spectators were leaping, seemed increasingly redundant as the week went on.

The final wasn't a classic (with, interestingly, two players who had lost their opening matches at the start of the week) but Davydenko was a worthy winner, hitting zero unforced errors in the first 20 minutes, and his straight-sets victory banked the biggest prize of his career both in terms of prize money and stature.


The Russian's win rounded off a week to remember.

From the first ball, this was a classy competition, staged ambitiously by tournament managing director Chris Kermode and his organising team.

The idea to shift the suits from their traditional courtside thrones was inspired. The great and the good had to mix with their public, without the divide of royal boxes or corporate hospitality, and the stadium looked so much better for it.

The introductory light show created a chilling pre-match hype, the doubles competition, won by Bob and Mike Bryan, was fiercely contested and well attended, while the practice court in the middle of the public walkway added to the spectator experience.

An early criticism - mainly from lovers of cocoa and slippers - related to the lateness of the finishes. Some matches, heaven forbid, even ended close to midnight.

But Kermode, resisting calls for the doubles and singles matches to be switched in the schedule, correctly pointed out: "What other form of entertainment puts the main event on before the support act?"

The atmosphere would change completely if the singles match started at 7pm, when many spectators are still in the bars and restaurants around the O2, although I would suggest starting the session half an hour earlier to ensure fans can stay to the end and still get the last tube home.

The only real disappointment of the week was the farcical indecision of Thursday night when dithering ATP officials failed to convey the outcome of Group A to the players or the spectators for a full 15 minutes.

It was embarrassing and some of us said so. The criticism was uncomfortable for certain people who felt it went over the top - including some TV pundits who weren't even there to see it - but tennis rarely faces up to its problems. That's the problem.

It was an inexcusable shambles which could have been solved by a courtside kid with an Excel spreadsheet.

Even without that simplest of computer programs, someone could have done the maths on a calculator in advance so that every scenario was accounted for.

But the red faces had gone by the morning and, thankfully, the whole mess was consigned to history thanks to quality matches in the final three days.

A final thought; how many times during the singles matches was the trainer called to treat an actual injury?

Once: for Nadal's back.

Michael Novotny had to appear on two other occasions - to give Davydenko an inhaler and treat Del Potro for a nosebleed - but otherwise could have gone sightseeing, there was so little call on his services.

Another reason to celebrate the week and look forward to next year...


  • Comment number 1.

    I agree that the week as a whole was a wonderful success. I had the privilege to go for the Semis and the Finals and, while I was personally upset that Murray didnt make it (by one game!!!) to the Semis and Federer was disappointing and strangely detached from the game against Davydenko I did think that the spectacle itself was fantastic and it was great to be there at the inaugural tournament for London.

    I look forward to coming back to watch more tennis for the next 4 years and hopefully beyond!! The big question now though is what do i do until the season resumes again in the New Year!?!?! Well apart from the Davis Cup final next week of course!

  • Comment number 2.

    A stunning success in what is surely the best modern day indoor arena in Europe. Awesome(Bar getting home on the tube!!!). The atmosphere is charged and the entrance of the players under spotlight and with dry-ice smoke gives it a boxing like gladiatorial feel. I went with my fiancee on Wednesday to see Davydenko beat Nadal. Great to see the eventual winner. I think the format has to stay as is and it gives punters time to get a few beers or glasses of vino in them that add to the atmosphere but not in a "football match" manner, but more like a gig you could go to at the O2. I agree the evening session should be 30 minutes earlier though. Bar that Everyone was a winner in the last week or so. Well done London, well done O2 and well done Davydenko.

  • Comment number 3.

    This site is notorious for its trolls but even I was stunned when one users said something along the lines of "this tournament has been a total failure and a waste of tax-payers money". Clearly, this was not a tennis fan speaking - anyone with any passion for the game couldn't help but be impressed with not only the organisation of the event, but the effort all eight players put into every one of their matches. There was not a slack performance all week, and the whole tournament was a joy to watch with the right champion.

  • Comment number 4.

    "The first edition of the ATP World Tour Finals in London was a stunning success"


    Can't help feeling the sponsors will disagree with you there - in private of course.

    After the late withdrawal of Roddick, 3 of the top 4 big name players went out in the group stage - and then Federer himself was the next to be eliminated.

    Great for tennis fans - I mean, how many of us are really rather delighted to see Kolya play so well and win a big tournament? It would take a hard heart to begrudge him.

    But I suspect the public at large will have been rather disappointed - after all the hype - that the big names underperformed and went out, and someone they had only heard of with regard to betting irregularities ended up lifting the trophy...

  • Comment number 5.

    Superb event. An absolute classic. Heres to next year.

  • Comment number 6.

    On the actual organisation, I would say:

    Arena - Excellent

    Format - The round robin remains confusing: to the players themselves, never mind the audience. I think some form of sudden death play off might be a more satisfactory conclusion in the event of a tie.

    Scheduling - They really must remember that people have to travel home after the event. Basic error.

    Scheduling 2 - The fact that the first semi-finalist has such a clear advantage over the second semi-finalist in terms of recovery time is the worst thing about it. They really must find some way to get round this.

    Music - Oh sorry, THIS was the worst thing about it. Ditch the music please. Or if you absolutely MUST have it, please play something half-decent instead of freakin Robbie Williams ballads.

    All said however, the fundamental flaw in the concept still remains. It comes right at the end of an extremely tiring and over-long season. The players are nearly all knackered. Nadal and Djokovic looked about dead on their feet. It's no surprise that someone known as the Ironman on account of his remarkable stamina and endurance ended up winning it...

  • Comment number 7.

    "An early criticism - mainly from lovers of cocoa and slippers - related to the lateness of the finishes. Some matches, heaven forbid, even ended close to midnight."

    That's rubbish - it wasn't because im old and i wanted to get to sleep that made me want an earlier start, it was that i am young and i wanted to do things afterwards! When i bought the tickets it said a 7.00 session to start, so i had expected the singles to start not later than 8.00 rather than 9.00. The way they have it now means the tennis takes up my whole evening, something that is made even more frustrating by the O2 being in the middle of nowhere!

    Aside from that, and the fact that the tournament didn't have the Murray-Federer final which would have really captured the public attention, i would say it was pretty good all round

  • Comment number 8.

    I had the pleasure of attending both semi finals and I'd have to agree that this was a fantastic venue for a fantastic event. I'm an avid Federer fan but was actually supporting Davydenko in their semi clash, partly because as I player I believe he's underrated and also because he clearly wanted it more. Comment 1 summed it up well, Federer did seem a little detached to me. I had 2 issues with the event though..

    1. Why start the matches so late? It caused a mad rush for the tube and I easily could have missed my train out of london. The doubles finished 45 mins before the singles players even came onto the court- why the wait?

    2. This is a really petty complaint BUT the music!! I love the concept of music during the changeover but got soo repetitive. More variety next year and more uplifting music, Snow Patrol really dampened the mood of the arena!

    Like I said though, it was an extremely good event and I'll do my best to return next year.

  • Comment number 9.

    While the idea of the event is great, it's obvious that you aren't always going to have all the big names available at the end of a season, be it down to injuries or fatigue or whatever. However, if the quality of the tennis is as good as what I saw of it this week, I don't think it matters if 1 or 2 are missing.

    As for BBC tv coverage, why limit it to just Murray matches and weekend games? If you're going to show the event show it properly, or at least on the red button. I hope after the success this year the commitment will be upped for 2010.

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree - London is really lucky to have this tournament; it's almost as good as having another slam staged here.

    The venue is just wonderful - the staging was brave and innovative - I was lucky enough to see Verdasco vs Delpo, as well as a great doubles. It also makes you realise just how underrated the doubles version of the sport is - nice for those players to perform in front of such a large and, at my match, appreciative audience.

    The evening sessions are great for people to get to after work - the day sessions for those taking a day off, or who have a long way home - that's an attractive choice. And the O2 couldn't be easier to get to - it's not 'in the middle of nowhere' (as one comment states) it's 10 minutes from London Bridge - that's practically central London.

    As for the final - I just want the two best players - and that's what we got - one for the real fans. Perhaps not a vintage final tennis-wise, but you can't guarantee that even at the slams.

    I can't wait for next year. Oh and, as always, great coverage on the radio and online - I don't have a tv and even prefer the radio. The commentary was top-notch and if you think that's easy try turning the volume down on the telly and commentating on a rally or two - it must be the hardest sport to commentate on for the radio. Thanks guys!

  • Comment number 11.

    Agree with most of the above - the tournament in general was absolutely superb. We had seats for Thursday all day, right up 'in the gods', and the view was brilliant. The seats are sufficiently steep so that even someone as short as me could mostly see over the person in front of me. I have a couple of minor points (though please realise that in the context of the day these are very small):

    During the doubles match in the evening the hospitality suites all around the arena are open and people are networking/chatting/drinking etc prior to the 'main event'...unfortunately this could be heard as background noise throughout the arena. Not sure if it would affect the players, but it was slightly irritating, especially when a glass smashed. Perhaps glass doors could be added to the front of these suites to seperate the hospitality area from the spectator area?

    The arena really struggled to cope with everyone going to get food between the two sessions. This is totally understandable and I would imagine an event like this with an interval for dinner is the only one of its kind the arena's had to deal with...not sure what could be done to improve the system?

    Scheduling - I did think it went on too late. Fine if I lived in central London, but I travelled from Leeds for the tennis and stayed in a hotel in Barking. Sadly the last district tube is just after 12am so in order to get our connection we had to leave before the end. As we are not from London we were not sure of alternative transport...I think things should have been earlier...perhaps the whole day could be moved forward an hour?

    However, the day was brilliant and I loved the style of the venue, the lighting, music, organisation, intros to the players etc. Very professional, and made me very proud that we will have another such distinctive tennis event in the UK.

  • Comment number 12.

    I was lucky enough to attend every session and it was an incredible event, but certainly not perfect.
    A few things started poorly but did get better as the week went on and I had a great week watching top class tennis and some really dramatic matches and moments.

    My route to the O2 on day one resulted in having to take a rail replacement bus as there were no trains running from one side of that tube line which was a very disappointing start to a major sporting event.
    Arriving at the arena my ticket was scanned and in I went, that part of the process was very smooth from start to finish and there were always plenty of O2 staff around for those that were a little lost or confused.

    The stewarding in the arena however left a lot to be desired on day one, they didn't grasp the concept of not letting people move around during play and only to let people move when the players sit down between games (and not after the first game of the set where they simply switch ends) this led to a lot of movement in the crowd during play and throughout the week the umpire had to hurry people to sit down, I have to say that this did improve over the course of the week, but it was never perfect.
    Also the fans who don't seem to understand not to use a flash on their camera was very frustrating and there were a few too many shouts at inappropriate times - one of which seemed to be a turning point in Murray's match against Federer, although you cannot say that for sure.

    Another thing that left a lot to be desired sadly were the ball girls with balls frequently rolling around and bouncing off the advertising half way back up the court, I'm sure they were doing as they had been told but they obviously had not been told correctly as this does not happen at other tournaments, but with the constant advertising of the ball kids competition for next year I'd imagine this will be much improved.

    I thought the doubles matches were superb and hopefully got a lot more people interested in this form of tennis, some of the players were virtually unheard of by a lot of people so it was great that they ran some introductory programmes on the screens prior to the games, it's just a shame more people weren't there to see them.
    On the subject of the attendances there seemed to be plenty of empty seats in every session which was a little disappointing despite the constant claims of a sell out, I think a lot of this was down to companies and sponsors having tickets that they could not even give away to their employees.

    As for the location of the O2 I'm afraid to say it is a little in the middle of nowhere, while there are bars and restaurants they were all packed out all week between sessions and there was very little to do - eating and drinking in overpriced crowded bars is not everyone's cup of tea. A trip into town was not really worth the time it would take as there wasn't enough time to do anything before turning back to get there in time for the next session, and also on the first day I found that the "street" in the O2 came to virtual gridlock as people poured out looking for things to do, I managed to avoid it after being caught the first day but I imagine other people got stuck during the week.

    I would agree that the evening session needed to start earlier, as while the underground was still running until shortly after midnight with thousands of people potentially needing transport the last couple of trains would not be able to cope with demand, thankfully for me I was heading in the opposite direction to most people so while I was caught up in the queues to get into the station once inside it was smooth sailing.

    Despite the little niggles I have described it was a fantastic spectacle, and I'm sure with the experience behind them that next year will be even better, Davydenko was a well deserved winner and I am sure he has won himself a lot more fans in this country and beyond, I particularly enjoyed the pre match profile of him which let us behind the iron mask he wears on court.

  • Comment number 13.

    This has been a very good week for mens tennis and has been a big success. The standard of play has at times been breath taking. Whilst some have suggested the lack of big 4 I. The final and only one in the semis will lead to unhappy sponsors I disagree as the depth has really come to the fore this week showing that anyone can beat anyone else which is good for the sport which has seemed almost a procession to the semi stage. Whilst i am a huge federer fan davydenko thoroughly deserved the title for the consistency he has shown. His first set demolition of nadal was phenomenal and he was close to that level all week. Federer really only hit the heights in the final 2 sets against murray and will need to start better next year after losing first set in all 4 matches. The only downside was the late finishes and starting (as suggested) just 30mins earlier would help to solve this issue. All in all fantastic tournament.

    If the standard continues into 2010 then it's going to be one hell of a year especially if nadal gets himself back in form and fitness

  • Comment number 14.

    I was lucky enough to see Federer vs Murray on Tuesday night and I personally thought the tournament was excellent. Getting to the 02 was easy and there were no queues to get in, the programme was slightly expensive but not scandalously so.

    I spent most of the day around the practice court, which was ideally situated near the restaurants and gave great, up close views of the pros. Nadal, Davydenko and Murray all graced the court with the latter showing off his football skills. Even Andy Roddick made an appearance despite not playing in the finals. Although none of the players signed autographs, it allowed the fans to see just how good the pros are.

    Inside the arena itself, the event was very well staged. The lighting was good (if a little bright at times), the music was a nice touch and the layout on and around the court was very smart and professional. They did make us wait for a while before actually bringing out the players but it all added to the build up and the excitement. The match was of high quality (although just seeing Federer made my year!)and you can tell qualifying for the semi-finals meant everything to either player. The fans really contributed to the atmosphere too, although you did get the odd disruptor shouting just before Murray was about to serve.

    The 2 major problems were the scheduling and the farce that surrounded Thursday night with neither Murray nor Del Potro knowing if they'd gone through. I'm sure the ATP will fix that but for next year they should look at starting the evening session earlier as if Murray had staged a comeback in the 3rd set we would not have made the last train home.

    All in all, the tournament was superb and I was glad to be able to see tennis of that quality, ticket prices were cheap and London has certainly earned the right to host the finals as it was a definite improvement on Shanghai. There is room for improvement but with sell-out crowds every night showing Britain's love for the sport, the ATP can look back on the 2009 world tour finals with pride.

  • Comment number 15.

    This great win against the best possible field in the game will stand out as a shining milestone in Nikolay's career that will give immense pleasure to his fans as well as accrue him a host of new ones. I see a quantum jump in the quality of his tennis this year. He is a great thinker of the game and now a master at implementing his plans to near perfection.

    The way he goes about it so relentlessly must put fear in the hearts of the best of his opponents. His error percentage could perhaps now be the lowest. Looks a very neat package too in terms of lasting quality.

  • Comment number 16.

    an overall 10/10 for the weeks tennis

    never been to the O2 arena before, in fact had very negative thoughts about it before I went on Tuesday evening. I was v pleasantly surprised, great venue, didn't like the music and noise and dry ice etc, but the 4 match I saw were great. the crowd joined in, and were near enough to feel part of the occasion. managed to get there 2 evenings, and only complaint is that I missed the last few games of each evening as my last train home at 23.40 meant I had to leave. it was a pity on both occasions.

    if the evening moved earlier as suggested the afternoon sessions would probably have to too, and it would be v difficult for people to get to the evening sessions after work.
    great too, to see Davydenko win after all this time, he's always been such a gentleman on court and very self deprecating. in his interviews this week he showed a lovely sense of humour - which I didn't expect. he's worked so hard, he deserved the win. Interesting about the end os season tiredness others have commented on - doesn't Davydenko play more tournaments than most?
    what a pity the BBC commentators could only comment on the alledged match fixing probe years ago when talking about him, but sang the praises of everyone else. also a pity the BBC didn't see fit to show the 2nd semi final

  • Comment number 17.

    I agree with most of Jonathan has said and am delighted the event is staying at the 02.

    I do not however appreciate his slighty sarcastic tone when he says "Some matches, heaven forbid, even ended close to midnight."

    I am a big tennis fan who has followed the sport for around a decade. I paid good money for my ticket and have looked forward to this event for a long time. Like many others, I was relying on public transport to take me to and from the event.

    I attended daydenko v djokovic and, unfortunately, by the end I was forced to keep one eye on my watch and one eye on the tennis. At every changeover, I noticed more and more of the crowd having to leave - is this the intention of the organisers?

    Getting to the 02 is not complicated, but when there are no additional trains (and several thousand wanting to leave at the same time) it can be problematic. I have a feeling I was not the only one not wanting to be stranded there.

    Otherwise it was a great event - I look forward to attending again.

  • Comment number 18.

    Russia's Nikolay Davydenko turned in a superb performance to win the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.

    Davydenko had already beaten Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to get to the final and yesterday he proved too strong for the US Open Champion Juan Martin Del Potro.

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    Davydenko played some extremely aggressive tennis early on and he was rewarded as he broke Del Potro in the 4th game of the match the Russian held on to claim the opened set 6-3.

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    Del Potro showed signs of life in the 2nd set but Davydenko's pace and accuracy ultimately proved too much for the Argentine as the Russian sealed the set 6-4 and the match 6-3 6-4.

    Last year Davydenko reached the finals of the World Tour finals when it was held in Shanghai however on that occasion he lost in the title match to the world number 3 Novak Djokovic.

  • Comment number 19.

    I agree that the tournament was a success in terms of attendances and quality, but the scheduling really was awful.

    I managed to get tickets on Saturday for both sessions and loved watching Davydenko outplay Federer and enjoyed the first doubles match.

    Then, we went and grabbed some food before coming back to watch a hugely entertaining doubles match between the Bryan brothers and Mark Knowles and Mahesh Bhupati but had to leave before the second semi-final even began.

    The last train we could possibly catch back to Brighton was at 22.41 from London Bridge and that meant catching the tube from North Greenwich just before 10pm - which would have only got us half a set into the match.

    We chose to just leave and catch a slightly earlier train as staying for six games would have been pointless as we wouldn't see the outcome anyway and it also meant we'd get home before 1am and wouldn't have to catch a bus for the final half hour of our journey.

    All in all, I think the scheduling was a disgrace and was put in place without a thought for the fans who had paid £100 for two tickets for the day. The organisers were thinking of the worldwide TV audience who, incidentally, hadn't paid to watch the match.

    No one is asking them to put the singles on before the doubles, but if the first session finishes at 3.30-4pm, then why doesn't the second start at 6pm with the last singles match kicking off at 8pm rather than 9-9.30pm?

    If I'd known the timings were going to be so terrible when I bought the tickets, I'd have chosen final tickets instead as I had that option but didn't want to be out too late on a Sunday when both myself and my girlfriend had to be up before 7am for work on Monday morning.

    One would assume that if it was so important for the matches to take place so late then the final would also have been in the evening. It's a poor excuse really.

    I have to say that although the arena was very impressive and the tennis I saw was of the highest quality, I left feeling very bitter and disappointed.

  • Comment number 20.

    I went to the tennis last Sunday and saw Federer against Verdasco - a great game. The doubles was also very good - a great pity the BBC totally ignore doubles.
    Why is everything dumbed down though.
    Large neon signs telling us that ace has just happened or that its break/set/match point. Why don't the signs go all the way and tell us who is serving every 5 minutes because we all are so thick !!!
    The officials should only let spectators leave/enter when players sit down. This was not happening and was very irritating.
    The stadium is fantastic though and a great place to watch tennis.
    I think DLR should stay open till 1am,inside food stalls should also stay open for at least 1/2 hour after a match has finished.
    It was a great experience but the organisers could learn some things from Wimbledon.
    The BBC commentators talked too much and were rubbish - but of course we are talking about simpering Sue Barker, Timmy Henman and Andrew Castle. I guess they couldn't get anyone better.

  • Comment number 21.

    #19, I agree with you about the late start to the evening session but there are trains from Victoria to Brighton which run a lot later than the ones from London Bridge which would have allowed you to see the same

    As with most venues I was very disappointed with both the quality and price of the food in the actual arena outlets (and I'm sure that any complaint will be met with the usual, "it is comparible with other major events" so crap everywhere is ok !)

    I also went with a negative attitude to the O2 and with my ticket saying anyone afraid of heights should not sit in this area was a bit worried, however the view was superb and I was impressed by the arena

    Is the late scheduling due to the trying to fit in with America TV schedules ?

  • Comment number 22.

    Agree that the event was overall a success and I suspect that tickets might be harder to come by next year now that the great British public have realised that the event is now on the sporting calendar.

    My comments are:

    Travel. Living north of London and having tickets for both sessions on Wednesday I looked at the timings and realised that the journey home by tube etc might be difficult or impossible. However, what many people don't realise is that there is bookable parking at the O2 and about a week before the event there were over 1,000 spaces still available for our day - I think with booking fee it was about £19 for the full day. We had no problems with traffic either way and at the end of play were out of the car park and on our way home in a few minutes.
    Food. The food staff tried to anticipate the rush between matches by setting out food and drink before it was needed with the result that on both occasions we had to ask for replacements at it was cold - as did many other people around us.
    Offical Programme: Very little information on the rules of the tournament with a small note on "championship" tiebreaks actually misleading as it said that the winners would be the first to 10 points. No reference to the rules for qualifying from the round robin depsite the fact that mathematically the chances of a three way tie for two places is quite high.
    Arena: The evening session saw us up in the top tier which is extremely steep and I would say not at all suitable for some people yet there was no warning at the point of booking or on the tickets. We saw people with crutches looking decidely uncomfortable climbing the steep steps to their seats.

    Overall though a great event - it's about time that we had a proper Masters event in this country outside of June and we will be going back next year.

  • Comment number 23.

    #21, it's all well and good saying that there are later trains from Victoria - which I know already - but when the Tube has so many closures over the weekend, it makes it almost impossible to get back there when leaving any later.

    The Jubilee line was closed from Waterloo to Stanmore and the Circle and District lines were closed for much of the route which would have meant us going all the way up to Euston just to come back down to Victoria and making a number of changes on the way.

    Granted, this isn't the O2 or the organisers fault, but surely during a week when there are such a huge number of people travelling to one place for a major event, consulting with TFL and coming up with a comprimise would have made sense?

  • Comment number 24.

    "What other form of entertainment puts the main event on before the support act?"

    What an idiotic comment. What form of entertainment is scheduled to finish (in all probability) when most people have left the arena to avoid paying for a taxi home? The start time for both events could have been earlier.

  • Comment number 25.

    I just hope that next year those of us who do not live in the UK have a chance to hear the commentary on the internet. I can pick up commentary for Wimbledon but was blocked from the commentary for this tournament. Something for the BBC to think about, I hope.

  • Comment number 26.

    I was there for the Monday evening matches and absolutely loved it. The arena was fab and the staff there were (unexpectedly I must say) really friendly and helpful. The doubles especially were a great surprise - a shame more people didn't come in a bit earlier to support Leander and co. However, we did have to leave slightly before the end of the singles (Davydenko vs Djokovic) which I was a bit gutted about in order to catch the last train from London Bridge so perhaps some integrated transport thinking might be order. Do you think they'll sort it for 2012? Nothing wrong with the Jubilee Line though. Someone should have told that to Boris B as he ranted about the traffic problems on Sunday - just put on a disguise and hop on the Tube, love!

  • Comment number 27.

    the finals were a success. Delpo's percentage of games drama was my highlight. the only failure was probably the winner. such a great tournament needed a winner with a bit of personality and charisma. JM would have been a perfect champion - young, ambitious, good-looking and with a grand slam under his belt (the latter means i wouldn't regard Murray as a worthy winner). also it's a shame Roddick had to withdraw and Djokovic failed to make semis. these two are incredibly popular among the British public while the likes of Soderling and Davydenko simply haven't got IT.

  • Comment number 28.

    I thought it was a very successful event and we are very lucky to have it in our country. I went to the semi finals and it was brilliant. Especially the stmosphere, miles better than the polite clapping at Wimbledon. My only thing was people not being stopped by stewards and going in and out whenever they wanted. But most people did have the courtesy to wait until the end of games but not until changeovers. I think Wimbledon should take note. It was so nice to be surrounded by some proper tennis fans for a change and for seats to actually be filled! By the way what does Overend mean by Nadal's family issues????

  • Comment number 29.

    Oh yes,London did it,O2 did it but Federer didn't :-(
    I was expecting Federer to reach atleast Final ( Rather the winner) because of his such a huge stature on the court but that was not the case. Well i watched the tournament from about 7000 miles in Pakistan but i can feel that electrifying experience: Darkness in the afternoon and each match was so well contested. I agree with the author on verdasco, one poor game and two lost tiebreaks were enough for his departure. And as far as Nadal is concerned,he really disappointed his fans,three straight sets defeat.
    Last but not least Federer ended the year as number 1 for the fifth time. What a season Federer had :-)

  • Comment number 30.

    That's a bit of an insult to the British public. I could really feel the crowd warming to Davydenko at least (wasn't lucky enough to be there for any of the Soderling matches). The British don't just like tennis players because they're famous. Most of them have a bit more sense than that.

  • Comment number 31.


  • Comment number 32.

    I thought it was fantastic - I loved the Davis Cup at the NIA but this was something else, and thats before we get to the tennis! Its about time this country had an indoor tourniment, it deserves one in the regular season, a masters series event in london after the YEC's end here is surely a must? Ive always wondered why we haven't because you get such a polorised view of tennis on the lawns of Wimbledon, Queens, Eastbourne, Birmingham and Nottingham.

    I was pleasently surprised at the 02 as well. I have been for 2 concerts and both times they have basically emptied my pockets and dumped my food. I therefore wasnt expecting to be able to take my food in, however it was quite refreshing that they turned a blind eye to people with there own food!

    however, why no readmission? Why could you not leave the arena once you had gone in? I found that a bit odd.

    I haven't read through all comments yet and i also want to take umbridge with the comment about a late finnish, so appologies if someone has mentioned this specifically - What about those of us who don't come from london or around and can't get home via the tube or public transport!

    I was there for both semi finals, leaving home before 8 am on Saturday morning and getting home at gone 2am, and that was with rushing to the exits at the final change of ends and then legging back to the carpark when the TB finnished in order to miss the traffic!

    Luckily I only live in Birmingham so it was just about "doable" but if the Soderling/Del Potro match hadn't been a quick match i probably would have had to leave prior to the 3rd set or partway through it, if this were the case i wouldnt have got home until the back of 3, more likely 4am otherwise, and whatever you say that is pushing it a bit.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ resistance1984 #27 - Thankfully real tennis fans aren't as shallow as you! Who cares what a player looks like, as long as they play good tennis - it's not a modelling competition! And Davydenko played the best tennis all week and fully deserved to win the title. I'm delighted for him.

    I travelled from the north of Scotland and was lucky enough to attend 5 sessions so I got to see everyone play. The atmosphere was fabulous and the arena ideal for this kind of event. The sessions need to start an hour earlier to allieviate transport problems at the end of the night, but hopefully that will be sorted for next year. I've already booked my time off work :)

  • Comment number 34.

    I agree with Lesley. I thought Davydenko was superb all week and fully deserved to win. It's nice to see someone like that finally winning a big tourney and I know I was cheering him on all week.

    I went to see Djokovic v Nadal on the Friday and could not believe how good the arena was and the view. I live in Wales so getting home would not have been possible if we'd gone to the evening session, I thought they could have easily been pushed back half an hour at least.

    Overall, amazing tournament and I will certainly be looking to go again next year.


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