The Valencia Open takes place between the 19th and 27th of October 2013 and will see some of the world’s best tennis players congregate to win this much-respected tournament. This is an ATP World Tour 500 event which is only two levels below Grand Slam level meaning the quality of tennis to be expected is very high, and with a prize pool of almost €1.5 million, there’s plenty at stake financially also. Here we take a look at the venue, the history of the event and potential winners.
The venue and how to get there
Unusually, the Valencia Open does not take place at a designated sporting venue, but rather at an entertainment and cultural complex known as the City of Arts and Sciences (Spanish: Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias). Interestingly, the venue was built on the former riverbed of the river Turia, and also features a massive IMAX cinema, an interactive museum of science, biological gardens, and oceanographic park and an opera house. This complex is right in the heart of the city, meaning that you will not have to travel out of town in order to get there. With Valencia being one of the major Spanish cities, flights are available from the majority of sizeable British airports. If you’re flying from Gatwick for example, both British Airways and EasyJet operate this route and Gatwick parking is available on site.
The Valencia Open has been taking place in one form or another since 1995 at various venues in the area. However, a major change took place in 2009 when the tournament changed from being a traditional Spanish clay court event to an indoor hard court one. This change took away a major advantage the Spanish players had as the majority of Spanish players grow up learning the game on clay. Nowadays, big serving players such as John Isner and Jerzy Janowicz have a much greater advantage as there is no longer a clay surface to slow down their game. There has been a variety of winners over the history of the tournament, with only Spain’s Nicolás Almagro having won it twice; he also returns this year as the seventh seed.
Although the world’s truly best players are missing from this event due to injury or choosing other events to play in, there are still world-class players to be seen. The top seed and therefore favourite for the championship is David Ferrer who recently overtook Roger Federer as the fourth best player in the world. Hugely experienced German player Tommy Haas is the second seed and will also be very difficult to beat. The third and fourth seeds are John Isner and Jerzy Janowicz respectively; two young players with massive serves who have had very good seasons this year, with Janowicz even having reached the semi-final of Wimbledon. Although perhaps not the force he once was, two-time winner Nicolás Almagro will be hard to beat as always, and for an outside bet, Tommy Robredo, Mikhail Youzhny and Gael Monfils are all very talented tennis players.