2014 is the first year that the WTA Finals have been held in Singapore. As Singapore is quick and easy to get to from Melbourne (compared to Europe and the USA anyways!) I’m so glad that I took the opportunity to pop over for a live tennis fix.
If you’re planning to attend anytime in the next few years, these tips will enhance your visit and let you know what to expect.
1. The Crowds and Crowd Control are Excellent
This isn’t really even a tip, but I was so impressed by the crowd and the crowd control that I wanted to mention it first!
I’ve been to a lot of tennis tournaments in a lot of countries and am happy to say that this is one of the best in terms of crowd control. And if you’ve read my blog or tweets, you probably know how annoyed I get at bad spectator etiquette.
Prior to every match there was an announcement reminding people to put their mobile phones on silent mode and only move to and from your seats during a change of ends. I’ve often wondered why every tournament doesn’t do this, or put the reminder up on the big screens. Of course there will always be people who ignore the advice but generally the Singapore crowd was excellent. I also liked seeing the people at the entry to the seated area with signs saying “Quiet Please”.
When it was the right time to clap and cheer, electronic signs flashed up saying “Get loud” and “Make some noise”, and the crowd responded enthusiastically.
2. Take the train when leaving the venue
The Singapore MRT system is one of the best train systems I’ve ever used. It’s clean, efficient, air conditioned, accessible, ticketing is straight forward and trains arrive frequently.
Stadium station is right next to the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Taxis in Singapore are also a great option given they are reasonably priced (compared to Melbourne anyway!), the drivers don’t argue with you or talk loudly on mobile phones and I didn’t ever hear a taxi driver toot his horn. We initially wanted to take a taxi when leaving the venue but there was a queue and no available taxis in sight. People were calling to book taxis which came quickly to pick them up, but that didn’t help people in the queue (people like us who didn’t have a Singapore phone to call with!). So we decided to take the train, which I wish we’d done in the first place.
Find out more about Singapore trains here. In terms of ticketing, you can buy a card and top it up, but the card costs $5 (you pay $12 and get $7 back upon returning it) so if you’re only taking a few trips just buy a ticket each time. The standard paper tickets can be topped up a few times, which is great in terms of recycling and also if you don’t like ending up with a bag full of used tickets at the end of your holiday.
I wish every train station had these arrows near the doors, indicating that people should wait to the sides and not block the doors while others are getting off.
3. The choice of food available to buy at the venue is limited
Given that you’re not allowed to take food or drink into the WTA Finals venue, I was surprised at the lack of options available to buy (shown in the photo below). And if you’re gluten free (*raises hand in the air*), hopefully you like potato chips or caramel pop corn.
You can get a pass out to leave the venue and be able to return. There is a shopping centre next to the venue with all sorts of restaurants, cafes and food outlets available.
4. There is no free wifi
If you’re someone who likes accessing the App or using social media during a tennis tournament (*raises hand in the air again*), be prepared with your own wifi as there’s no public free wifi available for WTA Finals spectators.
The only place I found close by was Smoothie King in the shopping centre. It was worth buying a smoothie to catch up on tweets and coordinate with people that I was planning to catch up with.
5. Allow time during your trip to experience Singapore
As well as offering an enjoyable tennis experience, Singapore is a great city with plenty of sights to see, good food to eat and endless shopping.
Get ideas by reading 10 Top Tips for First Time Visitors to Singapore.
Heres’s some more pics from around the grounds and the doubles matches
I really enjoyed the tournament and hope to get back to the WTA Finals in Singapore during the next few years.
If you attended this year, leave a comment and let me know what your experience was like, and if you have any tips to add.
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal
Absolutely agree with you. Great atmosphere, polite crowd, terrible/limited food, bag searches (no outside water bottles allowed), easy/clean/cheap trains, no wifi and no coffee!! Saw some wonderful tennis at the two sessions I attended, but also loved pottering around Singapore for a week. One of the best meals I had was in Little India and I thoroughly recommend walking MacRitchie Reservoir or the Southern Ridges to burn off hotel breakfast buffet.