This post is regarding the 2011 Tournament. For information on the 2012 BNL Internazionali, please see our updated post instead.
Before the tennis world descends on Paris in a few weeks for the French Open, most of the world’s top players are here in Rome for a little clay court warmup action. The Internazionali BNL d’Italia (formerly the Italian Open), is holding court at the Foro Italico all week long. A top tournament for both the men’s and women’s tours, the Internazionali is usually a good indicator of what will come at Roland Garros. Unsurprisingly, world #1 Rafael Nadal has dominated lately, winning 5 out of the last 6, and while due to his first round bye we haven’t seen his stuff yet, a showdown with Novak Djokovic in the final would not be unexpected. The women’s side tends to be a bit less predictable, but all the top players are in town. Maria Sharapova looks to be in top form, easily dispatching Ekaterina Makarova last night 6-1, 6-1 (seriously, we got to the stadium a few minutes late and missed the entire match).
The Foro Italico recently underwent some renovations, and is now the perfect place for a day or evening of tennis. Day grounds passes run about €12, and allow you to spend the day wandering around the smaller courts catching some of the lower-ranked players as well as the stars warming up. But, we recommend forking over a few extra euro and hitting up the night session. One of the few tournaments outside of the US Open to host matches at night, watching world-class tennis under the lights is the perfect way to spend a summer evening. Not to mention that the brand new and shockingly well-designed (sorry, Italy) Campo Centrale is probably one of the most intimate Centre Courts around. If our dollar to euro conversion math skills serve us correctly, it was about half the price to sit ten times closer to the action than the most recent journey to Arthur Ashe (main court of the US Open). The smaller Stadio Pietrangeli also hosts night matches, and prices look to be a bit cheaper, but the marquee names will be in Centrale at night.
What: Internazionali BNL d’Italia – featuring the world’s top ranked players from the men’s and women’s professional tennis tours
When: Now through Sunday, May 15th. Day and night sessions daily (except Sunday – one session only)
How much: €11 (daily grounds passes) – €57 (seats for finals) – You can purchase tickets 24 hours in advance here, but we bought Centrale tickets at the stadium last night for the match that evening. It will probably get a bit more difficult to do that in the later rounds, so we suggest getting tickets ahead of time.