I am back in the UK now and have had time to go over the whole tournament. The experience of the media centre, being able to sit in on player’s press conference and ask questions and to see all that goes on behind the scenes is something I’ll never forget.
The high point was, of course, actually speaking to the players. In all I asked six questions, one to Murray, one to Roddick, two to Berdych, one to Federer and one to Tsonga. It was very easy to be intimidated by all the professional journalists there but after watching and listening to them I soon picked up ideas. I was slightly surprised with how little live tennis they actually watch. Apart from the final two days, the media section was almost empty with everyone typing away in the media centre with the matches shown on TV screens.
The low points were Nadal deciding not to bother showing up and Novak not being able to play on after his 3rd round match. I can understand Novak’s problem, a shoulder injury and looking ahead to the World Tour Finals but Rafa. For me he wimped out of playing indoors ahead of London due to his confidence level being near zero.
I have put together a little guide for those of you who may be planning a trip of your own to Bercy in 2012.
Beware of the nets
To stop the ball smacking the VIP’s in the face there are nets at each end of the court. For reference when booking tickets these are the affected areas where you will be watching through the net:
All of Block A
Part of Block B – Seats 25-32
All of Block U
Part of Block T – Seats 33-45
Part of Block S – Seats 17-24
All of Block J (though the net does not cover the whole court)
All of Block K (though the net does not cover the whole court)
All of Block L (though the net does not cover the whole court)
Block H, Rows 8-16, Seats 8-16 may be distracted by the radio commentators as this block is right next to the media section.
If you want to sit opposite the players Blocks E & F are best. Blocks P & O are behind the Umpires chair.
Bring your own food
Prices for food & drink are as to be expected for a sporting event. Here are a few prices from 2011:
Sandwiches – €4.50-€6
Bottle of water – €3
Popcorn – €3, €4.50 or €6
Ice cream – €3.50
Bag of M&M – €3.50
Beer – €3.50-€5
And of course you have Panini man across from the main public entrance. As you look from the main entrance you will see a row of stores, Mr Panini man is the shop with the white sign called “Creperie”. €6 buys you a panini and a bottle of soft drink. Crepes cost from €2.80-€5 depending on the filling.
Two Metro lines, 6 and 14, serve Bercy. Tickets cost €1.70 each or €12.50 for 10 (carnet). If you need to purchase a ticket for your return journey it is best to do so when you arrive, as there is not always someone in the kiosk late at night. The ticket machines only take coins or European chipped Debit/Credit cards.
Bring flags, bring bongos, bring your clapping hands and bring your voice. You will need them all to join in the unique atmosphere that makes Bercy the tournament is it. Also, be prepared to join in the Mexican wave that the ball kids will start, usually between sets.
If you go early in the tournament check out Court 1 & 2. These are both rather compact but offer great up-close viewing of the players. On court 1 again there are nets at the baseline but the public can only sit at one end, the other end is reserved for players, officials, ball kids etc etc. Court 2 only offers seating on the sidelines. To reach the other side of the court you need to go behind the curtain.
For reference here are all my reports:
My photo collection is here – www.flickr.com/photos/clare2904/