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Thailand Open Tennis 2005

History of the Thailand Open:

The Thailand Open is the only major ATP event that has graced South East Asian soil and has the ability to bring in top notch players like Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin, Tim Henman and many more. Click on these links below for more information on the Thailand Open Tennis Tournament.

Thailand Open Tennis Official Website
Thailand Open Tennis History

In the past, Singapore had seen it's fair share of exhibitions and challenger events. I remembered that there was something called the Honda Kah tournament a couple of years back and couple more of exhibition matches with the likes of Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg, Michael Chang, Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl and a few more known players held at the Singapore indoor stadium that was in the early 90s.

Most recently they had the Heineken Open in 1999 where Marcelo Rios, Mark Phillippoussis, Michael Chang and Lleyton Hewitt were playing here in Singapore. Besides Rios and Chang none of the other players were known. From that tournament, bloomed Asia's best tennis player Paradorn Srichaphan, whom before then, I have not heard off. That was the first ever tournament I saw Paradorn play in, and boy could he play! I remembered that he was using an oversized Prince racquet. This was even before he switched to Yonex! None of the players then, were really known and the tournament would hardly classify as a real ATP tour event.

In 2003, the torch was passed down to Thailand, to the first and only country in South East Asia to have a full fledge ATP tournament called the Thailand Open. The draw in 2003 did not have much hype, and not much attention was paid to it. All of of a sudden in 2004, came a phenomenon called "Roger Federer" and where Roger went, the world of tennis would follow.

In 2004, Roger, after winning his 2nd Wimbledon crown was playing in this tournament called the Thailand Open? To tell you the truth I have never heard of it and didn't know that the 2003 tournament even existed! I was watching TV and noticed that top players like Roddick, Safin, Federer and Srichaphan were all playing in this tournament held in Thailand! For a brief moment I was stunned, hey these players would actually come all the way to the far east to play! Srichaphan was the only exception, as he was from Thailand, but these guys would actually come all the way here to play was amazing!

I was telling myself I needed to find out more... But that was about it, I didn't actually spent much time pondering how much the event would cost, as I assumed it would probably cost a bomb anyways... I remembered the last few events here in Singapore cost a couple of hundreds of dollars, and to having to fly to Bangkok and spend on additional airfare and hotel accommodations would be even more costly. Well at least that was I thought until Apollo called me on one Friday night wanting to watch the 2004 final which his favorite player Roger Federer was playing against Andy Roddick. It was the classic dream final all tennis fans would love to watch, as it was the World's Number One against the World's Number Two... How often does that happen?

I remembered telling him there was no way in HELL that we could get tickets for the finals, get accommodations and a flight to Bangkok in such short notice. Bare in mind, he called me on Friday night wanting to watch the finals on Sunday! Of course, we could pay for a first class air tickets to Bangkok, pay a premium price for a classy hotel and buy some black market tickets, but he told me that he was on a shoestring budget. It was only on that fateful Friday night that I decided to poke around to find out more about the tournament rates. To my surprise, they were relatively cheap by Singapore standards! We were looking at around 1,000 to 1,500 baht which is around $40 to $60 Singapore dollars respectively starting from the quarter finals onwards. (See prices taken from the Thailand Open website below.

Price Details:

300 Baht (per day)

First and Second
500/800 Baht (per round)

Quarter Finals
1,000/1,500 Baht (per round)

Semi Finals
1,000/1,500 Baht (per round)

1,000/1,500 Baht (per round)

Tickets available at Thaiticketmaster.com

We then sourced for a couple of hotels and budget air carriers but unfortunately you would need to book your tickets well in advance and not at the 11th hour to get a confirmed seat. I told Apollo that it looks most likely that we would have to scrap the planned trip. He was left feeling disappointed. I felt kinda bad too, as if I was not that ignorant about this tournament, I would be on my way to Bangkok to witness the magic of Federer vs. Roddick. I watched the finals on TV that Sunday, and it didn't disappoint one bit. I promised myself that I will have to watch the tournament in 2005.

Come 2005, I finally did albeit being slightly late booking the tickets for the 2005 Thailand Open Semi Finals and Finals, I was a few days late confirming my ticket. By that time, most of the good seats were already taken. I was lucky to managed to get 3 tickets for the 2nd row seats which cost 1,000 baht a piece. Apollo, Serene and myself will be attending this event, as well as doing some sightseeing and shopping in Bangkok. Doreen, Apollo's wife, will be joining us for our trip but not attending the competition, as shopping in Bangkok interests her more :) Here's a screenshot of our seating arrangements for both the finals and semi finals. As you can see, most of the good seats are already taken.

We will be traveling by on a budget carrier Jetstar Asia which cost us around $167 and staying for 3 nights at the Asia Hotel which cost around 1,350 baht per night. That comes up to around $55 per night. Therefore the total cost for a 4 day 3 night trip to Bangkok with air fair, hotel accommodations and two days tournament tickets costs $167 (airfare) + $80 (tournament semi finals and finals tickets) + $55x3/2 =$83 (est) (based on twin sharing room for 3 night's hotel stay) and comes out to a total final tally for $330 Singapore Dollars per person! which is really cheap! On top of that, we are killing two birds with one stone! Catching an ATP Tennis tournament as well as doing shopping and sightseeing in Bangkok.

As for the seating you might ask why sit so far at the back... and not take the regular "blue" box seats in the image above. These smaller box seats are corporate boxes which are not open for sale to the regular public and only opened to corporations willing to fork out lots of $$$. Ticket Master is selling 3 various packages for the box seats. The Advantage (US$7,000 for 6 seats) , Champions (US$12,000 for 12 seats) and Masters (US$20,000 for 24 seats) membership that lasts throughout the entire length of the tournament. These seats are thus way beyond our league unless somebody sponsors us to get these fantastic seats :)

I will be documenting our trip for the Thailand Open semi finals and finals, as well as our shopping and sight seeing trip in this blog. Both Serene and myself are very familiar with Thailand as I am half Thai, (my mother is Thai) and father in Singaporean so I can speak the lingo as well as familiar with the places, sites and customs. Till then...

Sorry to burst your bubble a little bit, but Andy Roddick's taken Thailand off his 2005 schedule. Guess there won't be a repeat of last year's final, then.

Yeah I know... What a dissapointment :( I would love to see him play especially his big serve that is if I can see it :)

Anyways, I heard that Puerta will be playing, so at least I can get to see the French Open Runners Up. I would be a dream to see Nadal play live in the flesh against Roger Federer in the finals... If that were to happen...

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  • I'm Nawin from regentville
  • Residing in Hougang Singapore
  • Racquets: X2 Prince EXO3 Graphite 100 (Main) X3 Wilson K Blade Tour 93 (Backup) Strings: Toalson Ultimate 115 Strung @ 48-50 pounds. Plays: Right Handed (Single Backhand). Shoes: mi Adidas Barricade V Apparel: Lacoste & Adidas Favourite Players: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

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