Feet in the water, cliffs in the background and the sun to top it off. This week, it’s in the particular charm of the clay courts of Monaco that the best players in the world will meet. But that’s not always the case.

Feet in the water, cliffs in the background and the sun to top it off. This week, it’s in the particular charm of the clay courts of Monaco that the best players in the world will meet. On the contrary, some courts can turn out to be more than difficult to play on, whether it be because of the crowd, the quality of the infrastructures, or even because of their color. Here is a collection of places best to be avoided.

 

Casablanca

 « During the tournament, the dressing rooms are so dirty that you need to keep your clothes and shoes on when you shower. Some players have even decided not to shower and wait until they get back to their hotel in the evening. If the showers are disgusting, you can imagine how the toilets are. Some players even take loo-rolls on them. » After taking part in the Casablanca tournament, these are the words used by Robin Haase to describe the atmosphere reigning at the moroccan stage in 2012. If no one is sure that the place has been cleaned up, the organizers have nevertheless decided to move the tournament to Marrakech in 2016.

 

Asuncion

The BNP Paribas Davis cup can often be the stage for unique trips. But also risky ones. In 1985, the French team inherits an exotic first round against Paraguay. Driven by Leconte and Noah, the national squad has not much to fear on the tennis side, but end up in a mire which they couldn’t possibly have imagined. When they arrive, they discover a simple gymnasium,  dilapidated stands, an audience sitting only a few inches away from the linesmen but above all, a court made of simple wooden boards. Obviously far from the french players’ standards, who, even more than these match conditions, will suffer the umpires’ corruption and projectiles thrown from the stands. As a result, they return home with a 3/2 defeat and a fear forever engraved in the french memory.

 

The Karshi Challenger

Need a little change of scene ? Welcome to Karshi, Uzbekistan, for one of the most charming challenger tournaments. Located 400 kilometers away from the capital, Tachkent, the city welcomes you for an enjoyable outdoor tournament, with the dry and arid weather typical of the town in May. On the program, very few ATP points, 50 000 dollars in prize money but mainly, non-existant tourism. All of this to face the crème de la crème of Eastern tennis, among which the double title-holder, Teymuraz Gabashvili. A dream destination which will however require a few precautions to get there : the town’s airport is only accessible through Moscow and Tachkent, and at irregular intervals. Feel like going ?

 

Future de Mostoles

A park, high-rise blocks of council flats, and in the middle of that, some tennis courts. This is the splendid setting in which the pro tennis-players must play if they decide to attend the Mostoles tournament, 18 km away from the Spanish capital. Above its its idyllic location, the tournament offers no club-house, or even dressing rooms for the players. A real teat, described by Tom Jomby, ranked around the 400th spot at the ATP, on beIN Sports : « I lost in the quarter final after losing a match point. I finished my match at 2 p.m and as I had already checked out of my hotel room, I couldn’t even shower before boarding on my plane to Paris at 5 p.m. Nice the guy sitting next to him

 

Challenger de Manta

In Manta, a coastal town in Ecuador, the weather is sweet and the beaches are beautiful. Enough to lure the players into taking part in the city’s Challenger tournament. However, the adventure is not as wonderful as the postcard surroundings suggest. Adrian Mannarino, who has played the tournament, explains : « Just after Wimbledon, I spent a week there. I had lunch and dinner at the hotel all week long, and the hotel was right next to the club. We were told that the city was dangerous, and we shouldn’t walk around. I’ve spent a week between my room and the club which were 200 meters apart and I’ve never been so bored. »

 

By Raphaël Gaftarnik