Get a fans-eye-view of which grand slam venue is easiest, and hardest, to get to.
This is the first article in a series comparing key elements of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
In this article I’ll review ease of getting to the venue and the involvement of the host city.
How do the fan slam rankings work?
For each aspect of the tournament each grand slam was rated from 1 to 4, with the best tournament scoring 4 and lowest scoring 1. If two tournaments were equivalent, the total points were shared. For example if two tournaments were equally best, the total points for the top two ratings (4 + 3 = 7) are shared so each tournament receives 3.5.
The scores are based on my opinion and I welcome your feedback in the comments at the end of the article.
At the end of the fan slam ranking series we’ll add up the points to see which tournament is the best overall.
Ease of getting to the venue
Australian Open : 4
US Open : 3
French Open : 2
Wimbledon : 1
None of the venues are particularly difficult to get to and in all cases there are transport systems in place to make it as easy as possible.
- The Australian Open is the clear winner because Melbourne Park is located so close to the Melbourne CBD.
- This means that you can walk from the city centre in about 15 minutes and also get there quickly via tram.
- There are two tram stops at the venue, so you can get off at a stop nearest to Rod Laver Arena or Hisense Arena, depending on what tickets you have.
- Trams from the city are free if you have a valid tennis ticket.
- There are also options to get to the venue via train to Richmond or Jolimont stations, take a taxi or hire a bike.
- The biggest downside of getting to Flushing Meadows via subway on Line 7 is the heat of the platforms. Once you’ve boarded a train there is air conditioning but although I’ve never done Bikram Yoga, I imagine the heat of the subway platforms is similar.
- On the plus, the trains run frequently and aren’t too crowded. And once you get to Flushing Meadows it’s a relatively short walk down the board walk to enter the grounds.
- When leaving Flushing Meadows after a night match, even though a big crowd of people are leaving at the same time, the trains are managed really well to let people get home efficiently.
There are several Metro stops close to Roland Garros. A lot of people get off at Porte d’Auteuil On Line 10. From there there are tennis balls on the footpath to show you which way to go. However, the tennis balls don’t connect to every entry gate so we still needed to ask people which direction to walk to find Gate I which is closest to Suzanne Lenglen stadium.
Another close metro stop is Boulogne Jean-Jaures. We got off there one day to see if it was easier than Porte d’Auteuil. It wasn’t. There were no signs or tennis balls to show us how to get to Roland Garros and several times we had to ask people which direction to walk.
Although the platform was crowded when we left at the end of the tennis, the trains are managed well to get people home efficiently.
A lot of people travel to Wimbledon via the Underground. The grounds are a 15 minute walk from Southfields and a 20 minute walk from Wimbledon stations, making it the most difficult slam to get to. There are connecting buses from the grounds to the stations if you’re happy to pay a few pounds and wait for a bus and there is also a system of shared cabs from Wimbledon station.
Although buses take longer to get to your destination, we found it easier to get a local bus from one of the stops close to the grounds and then connect to either another bus or an Underground station, depending upon where we were going.
Again, Wimbledon isn’t particularly difficult to get to and the tournament makes every effort to make it easy, but relative to the other tournaments it is the hardest. And the least enjoyable when it rains. Which it does often.
By city involvement I’m referring to tournament promotions around the host city and how much the city gets behind the tournament.
Australian Open, Melbourne : 4
Wimbledon, London : 3
US Open, New York : 2
French Open, Paris : 1
Australian Open – Melbourne
Being from Melbourne and having the Australian Open as my home tournament means I’m pretty spoilt when it comes to city involvement. In the lead up to and during the Australian Open there are banners and advertisements everywhere around the Central Business District and on trams, which get all decked out in Australian Open colours.
There is a live site at Federation Square for watching tennis on a big screen, and loads of restaurants and bars have competitions to win Australian Open tickets. Basically if you visited Melbourne in January and weren’t aware that the Australian Open was on, you would soon become aware of it.
Wimbledon – London
Wimbledon Village really gets behind The Wimbledon Championships with loads of shops and pubs putting up signage and tennis ball decorations. Southfields station gets decorated like mini tennis courts and there are strawberry promotions outside Wimbledon station.
Tennis is shown on TV in a lot of local pubs. There are Wimbledon live sites around London, such as at Canary Wharf, where you can watch Wimbledon on big screens.
US Open – New York
There were some ads for the US Open on buses and around the city in New York but they weren’t as prevalent as in Melbourne or London. Probably due to how many other sports are popular in the US in addition to tennis.
On the plus side, we found it easy to find bars and restaurants that were showing the US Open on TV, most of them with Happy Hours which last for a lot longer than an hour!
French Open – Paris
Until the middle weekend of the French Open we saw no signs at all around the city that there was a major tennis tournament happening. From the middle weekend there was a live site at Hotel de Ville but this was the only promotion I saw aside from those around the Roland Garros area.
Sight seeing in the city area
Aside from the tennis, one of the great things about going to a grand slam tournament is that you get to visit awesome cities and see memorable sights. Because this adds so much to the experience, sight seeing in the city has been included as part of the fan slam rankings.
Paris : 4
London / New York : 2.5
Melbourne : 1
All four grand slam host cities are beautiful but for me, Paris is the stand out due to the bridges along the Seine River and world famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louve.
London and New York came equal second, closely behind Paris. London has Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. New York sights include the Statue of Liberty (particularly breath-taking at sunset), the skyline and Times Square.
As much as I love Melbourne, and it is truly beautiful, especially at night, relative to the other cities it doesn’t have the well known landmarks.
Summary of fan slam rankings to date
Based on the scores mentioned above the tally so far is:
Australian Open : 9
US Open : 7.5
French Open : 7
Wimbledon : 6.5
I hope this has given you some interesting insights into getting to the grand slam venues and enjoying the grand slam tournament host cities. I’d love to hear your comments and feedback below.
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Until next time
Grand Slam Gal