Monday, May 8, 2023

Eric & Brian Dosal: Once in a Lifetime Experience at Monte Carlo Masters 1000

A brief story about Eric & Brian Dosal’s recent experience at the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 Tennis Tournament…

In late March my brother Brian and I decided we wanted to try the experience of watching a Masters 1000 Tennis Tournament in Europe. 

We have been to the Miami Open many times and our family has been season ticket holders since 1987 back when it was the Lipton and hosted on Key Biscayne.  So with the blessings from our very supportive wives we began the planning process.

We reached out to Grand Slam Tennis Tours (GSTT) as they offer packages for these types of tournaments and our family had worked with them before.  We wanted to use a company for our first trip to help with all the logistics since we are unfamiliar with the process, the country, or the language.  GSTT came through big time and got us some great seats, we just needed to get to the Nice Airport and they would take care of the rest.

In true Dosal Brothers fashion we don’t pick an easy trip, we start out with the long multi flight trip for our first experience.  On Thursday April 13th, we boarded our Air France flight to begin our 18 ½ hour door to door journey to Monte Carlo arriving Friday April 14th in the evening.  It was a 4 legged trip, first a flight from MIA to Paris, then a flight from Paris to Nice, then a helicopter ride from Nice to Monte Carlo, and finally a car ride from the helipad to our hotel Le Meridien Beach Plaza.

The tennis experience started on Saturday morning, when through my Miami tennis coach, we were able to connect with an active player on the ATP doubles tour who got us player guest passes.  As player guests we were able to enter the Monte Carlo Country Club (MCCC) early before the public and he was able to arrange a 1 hour practice session on Court 11 which is a match court during the tournament.  What an incredible experience to be in Monte Carlo, overlooking the mediterranean playing on the European red clay on the same court the pros use.  This was the main highlight of the trip and an experience we will never forget.

After checking out the country club, shopping at the store, and a quick change at the hotel we were back to watch 2 Men’s Semi Finals matches.  The first match was Fritz vs Rublev where Rublev won 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 including a 3+ hour rain delay.  During the rain delay we were able to take cover inside the players restaurant since we had “player guest” passes from earlier.  My image of a player restaurant is a lavish location with a huge delicious spread of food.  This was not the case, it was a simple room with fold out tables and chairs, and the menu was grilled chicken, rice or pasta, veggies and some simple fruit desserts.  Nothing fancy.

The second highlight of the trip was by far the Sinner vs Rune match which ended up being at night because of the rain delay earlier.  The temperature dropped into the 40s and the wind picked up so it got cold in a hurry.  Watching the match at night with the mountains in the background on one side and the Mediterranean in the background on the other side was beautiful.  The fans are very passionate and very vocal throughout the match.  To our surprise after the 2nd set the announcer made an announcement in French and all of a sudden the fans from the higher seats started to move down.  We thought perhaps it was an evacuation message but no, it was a signal for everyone to come down and fill the lower seats.  It was like the stadium shrunk in size and the volume of the crowd got louder.  What a battle and Rune came out the winner at 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 despite the crowd rooting for Sinner. 

The next day was Finals Day and the weather was the total opposite of the day/night before.  It was in the 70s, no breeze, no clouds and nothing but sun which made for a very warm afternoon.  The finals match did not disappoint with Rublev beating Rune 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in a long intense match.  What an incredible ending to our tennis watching experience. 


 We spent the rest of the day/evening exploring Monte Carlo which was in the process of preparing for the famous F1 race.  So we explored the boardwalk, the F1 track, the marina, and the world famous casino.  The city is beautiful and a pleasure to walk around.

Monday was all about the ride home as we had to do everything in reverse.  The car picked us up at 8:15am (2:15am Miami time) and we arrived at home at 7:15pm making for a 17 hour trip door to door.  What an incredible experience this was; not only was it our first tournament in Europe and our first time seeing the red clay, but we got to watch some incredible tennis and got an opportunity to play on the clay.

Can’t wait to see what tournament we check out next…perhaps the Italian Open in 2024…

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