Regular readers of this blog will know that we are huge fans of Women’s tennis and indeed we are just about ready to call this year done before heading back to Australia for a family Christmas and the delights of the Australian Open.
So with a weekend to spare we thought we’d head out of Bangkok to Hua Hin to watch one of the last WTA tournaments of the year. It is a 200km drive about a 2 1/2 hour drive (on a good run) to Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand.
Can it get any better we thought, combining tennis with a beach break? This 6km stretch of beach has been popular with Thai royalty since the 1920's and although it's not my favourite beach in Thailand, we are always drawn to its easy proximity to Bangkok.
We had a few problems finding out about the tournament and so we set off without a hotel booked, hoping that we’d be able to buy tickets once we were there. On the way down we rang a few hotels and got ourselves sorted with somewhere close to stay. We found a cute beachfront hotel a short walk away and rocked up to ask about tickets at the True Arena.
‘Free?’ I couldn’t believe it!
‘So what time do we need to get here to get a seat?’,
thinking that the world and their dog would be there...
‘whenever you want' they said 'it will be busy, but not full!'
The matches started at 3pm and it was semi-final day. When we arrived I would not exactly call it busy. We took seats in the shade and settled in for a wonderful five hours of tennis. We watched two singles matches and a doubles semi-final which was exciting as Naomi Broady was playing with Aussie, Monique Adamczak a perfect team for me with UK/AUS!
Both the singles matches were close matches and we saw some great tennis. We were excited to have seen Belinda Bencic in fine form on her way to winning the tournament the next day. This was particularly impressive given, Bencic a top 7 player last year, has only just returned from injury. The British - Aussie team sadly did not make it through to the next day, but hey that's tennis.
But what a sad thing there was hardly anyone there to watch. Just call me a tennis tragic but what a crying shame! Indeed the greatest numbers of Thais were the ballboys and the line judges. It was hard to work out whether the rest of the spectators were on holiday or local expats living in Hua Hin, but put it this way we did not need to fight over the seats.
The other wonderful thing was the perfect temperature for watching tennis. We sat on the shaded side of the arena for the first match and after the sun had gone down we move to the side less obstructed with the umpire's chair. We had a light breeze, it really was so very pleasant. Five hours of tennis went by in one lovely evening!
True Arena is Asia’s first sunken tennis court and with its blue Plexicushion surface the same as the Australian Open. It would be an ideal way to finish the season with some Australian Open court preparation under your belt. Just saying!
Well done True Arena you hosted on a truly amazing tournament for the spectators. We are true fans now and hope to be back next year, and maybe we’ll bring some friends!