Drown your World Cup sorrows with some Pimms and a British sporting hero- Wimbledon is underway, with home hopes once again pinned on Andy Murray, defending champion (how good that sounds). We go on a whistlestop tour of the world-class cities that host the tennis calendar’s four grand slams each year, from Wimbledon in London to the Australian Open in Melbourne.
The premier event in the tennis world, Wimbledon is steeped in English tradition, from the grass courts to the strawberries and cream served courtside. As for its host city, there’s not much that can be said about London that hasn’t already been said, with its world-class attractions, museums, hotels and restaurants, and beautiful parks to relax in. The tennis stars have a range of luxury hotels to choose from, such as the Dorchester or the Ritz, but many like to rent plush apartments near the courts, cooking their own meals or enjoying the restaurants in Wimbledon village, and soaking up the relaxed home feel of the tournament. After the tennis, head up north to the mountains and lochs of Scotland and the elegant Cromlix hotel, where you can live like a laird- and it happens to be owned by Andy Murray, Wimbledon champion- did we say that already?
Just a short train ride away on Eurostar, France’s chic and fashionable capital hosts the French Open, the only grand slam played on clay. King of clay Rafael Nadal rules in Paris, having won this tournament an astonishing nine times in the last decade. The sumptuous Radisson Blu hotel on the grand Champs Elysees is mere kilometres away from Roland Garros, or book into your own home away from home with an apartment at La Reserve in the heart of the city, many of which have beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower. If you can tear yourself away from the tennis, cruise along the Seine or fight the crowds at the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa.
Perennial short-break favourite New York hosts the US Open, not surprisingly the most glitzy and glamorous slam, where a certain Andy Murray bagged his first grand slam title in 2012. New York’s many grand hotels include the Waldorf and the Viceroy, or go all out at the regal St Regis on Fifth Avenue, and enjoy 24-hour butler service- arrive in a limo to make the ultimate VIP entrance. Aside from catching some hair-raising tennis, do some serious shopping on Fifth Avenue, check out the Guggenheim museum, which fringes Central Park (this eye-catching building, an ingenious spiral of white, is a work of art in itself) and stroll round the park, refuelling with a delicious pretzel from one of the many vendors whose carts dot the tree-lined walkways.
The Australian Open is the most chilled out and accessible of the grand slams, and Melbourne has frequently topped lists of the world’s most liveable cities. A short stroll from the city centre across the Yarra river brings you straight to the distinctive blue courts of Melbourne Park, where you can usually avoid entrance queues and be sipping a beer in your courtside seat within minutes. Accommodation-wise, the players like the stylish hotels of the riverside Crown complex on Southbank, such as Crown Towers and Crown Metropol, which, as well as being in the city centre, are handily near the courts- this tournament is known for its thrilling floodlit night matches, which can stretch into the early hours as darkness falls over the city skyline beyond. Andy Murray (Wimbledon champion) recommends Crown Metropol’s Japanese restaurant Nobu, and chills out away from the court in the trendy beachside suburb of St Kilda- just hop on a tram.
If these cities of tennis have inspired you, Exsus can tailor-make virtually any kind of trip, from city breaks to worldwide tours. Call +44 207 337 9010 or enquire now