Before September, not too many pundits and fans talk about the season-ending ATP Finals, but after the U.S. Open, it’s about the only topic on the websites and podcasts. Established in 1970 — just two years after the start of the Open Era — the penultimate tournament began life as the ITF’s Masters Grand Prix, a showpiece event between the best players on the men’s tour. But the tournament didn’t count for any ranking points — a string of contention. In 1990, the ATP took over, changed the name and put at stake the same number of points as winning one of the four Grand Slams of the year. The ATP Finals were held at London’s O2 arena for more than a decade but in 2021 Turin won the bid for host city. With the top-eight singles players and top eight doubles teams of the past 11 months competing, it’s a fight to the finish. Last year at Torino’s Pala Alpitour, Rafael Nadal went in as the favourite, but Caspar Ruud dug deep only to lose in the final to Novak Djokovic. Veteran player Rajeev Ram paired with the UK’s Joe Salisbury to take the doubles title.
2023 has been another bruising year with no clear contenders, with the top men playing musical rankings, switching numbers every week. Carlos Alcaraz and Djokovic have traded Grand Slams, and the two “carrot-tops” — Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev — duelled mightily in Shanghai. Despite good showings at the U.S. Open, Americans Taylor Fritz, Francis Tiafoe and Tommy Paul, have fallen just out of the top eight. Rudd is back, as is Holger Rune — and the newly freed Boris Becker as his… coach. Djokovic didn’t drop a set in his 2022 run and tied Federer in number of ATP Finals won at six apiece; he could surpass another one of Federer’s record this year. But Daniil Medvedev always loves playing the foil to anyone’s dreams; he is lurking, a permanent spoiler.
Play & Watch
Here’s an idea! How about going along to Turin? We’ve got tickets for you to watch the ATP semi-finals on Saturday and to play at Circolo della Stampa’s red clay courts across the weekend, plus, access all areas passes for the ATP Top-8 training sessions. Want to come along? Check out our ticket packages here.
Circolo della Stampa Sporting Club and Torino’s Pala Alpitour
London usually wins the “exquisite historical venue” prize for its tennis-playing elite — hello Wimbledon and Queens Club — but the O2, a 20,000-person arena, didn’t offer much ambiance for end-of-season spectators. Torino’s Pala Alpitour isn’t much older than the O2 but at only 12,000 seats, it’s certainly more intimate. With a futuristic sheen of stainless steel and a 3D shaped Prism structure, the acoustics are also top notch.
As a practice venue, the boys can’t ask for much more than Circolo della Stampa, the one-time recreational association of the Turin newspaper of the same name. Once considered among the most important and luxurious sports venues in Europe with ten tennis courts, a stadium field, a swimming pool and clubhouse, Circolo della Stampa opened in 1939 as the Juventus Tennis and Football Club. Circolo della Stampa, through its many years and transitions, has held many international tennis events, including six editions of the Davis Cup from 1948 to 1971, the 1961 men’s clay Internazionali d’Italia, (now in Rome) and the 1966 Federation Cup, in which Billie Jean King took home both singles and doubles titles defeating West Germany.
what to SEE
Despite its world-class museums, including the Museo Nazionale del Cinema — dedicated to cinema history — its palaces and castles and the famous Shroud of Turin in the Duomo di Torino, one particular location is familiar to most any Torino tourist: the Gran Madre di Dio, whose steps the three Mini Coopers raced down during 1969’s The Italian Job, considered one of the best British movies ever made. After, or in lieu of, a day of tennis, more Italian Job sites await, including the roof of the Fiat Lingotto Factory, Gianni Agnelli’s monument to Italian industrialism, the and the oval-shaped UNESCO Word Heritage Palazzo Carignano, the Louvre-inspired baroque former house of Parliament. Don’t care about Mini Coopers or Michael Caine? The Superga Basilica offers breath-taking views of the city and pays homage to the tragic plane crash of the Grande Torino football team, while the Parco del Valentino is home to the Valentino Castle along the Po River.
Turin, at the heart of Northern Italy’s industrial and farming regions — think Fiat and Olivetti, has lots of industrial and farming heirs. Therefore, luxury is in the DNA. Expect hand-crafted, homemade everything, not to mention fresh. Via Roma is entire road made up of the refined facades of prestigious Italian and international fashion brands, including Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton, as well as Rinascente and the ubiquitous Eataly, except this branch is the mothership. For local style, the Via Garibaldi — one of the longest pedestrian-only shopping streets in Europe — features a mix of small men’s and women’s clothing boutiques, emerging Italian designers and of course, the Juventus store. Lastly, if Alcaraz or Djokovic are out of the tournament by Saturday, the Balon Flea Market promises the perfect vintage Prada or antique blue Olivetti for your collection(s).
Eat, drink and BE merry
Turin is renowned for culinary delights ranging from traditional Piedmontese cuisine — think tagliolini pasta, Salsiccia di Bra and Torta di nocciole — to contemporary Italian dining. All Court Tennis Club will have its annual ATP Finals Play and Watch welcome dinner at Madama Piola, known from its unpretentious, yet gratifying meals. Cianci Piola’s slogan “life is short, so free up the tables” describes this very popular, yet cosy bistro that puts a slight spin on Tajarin al tartufo. Instead of catering to the Peroni swillers, Baladin Open Garden aims to make Italian craft beer enthusiasts out of the northern Italians, as well as convert them to seafood delights, like duck and mussels. After dinner, Caffè Al Bicerin, which has been around for 260 years, is famous for its eponymous and historic drink: a mix of coffee, chocolate, and cream; Gelateria Pepino is the Caffè Al Bicerin of Italian gelato shops. Lastly, in-between matches, Mercato Centrale offers a variety of food stalls and vendors for “panino con la porchetta” (roast pork sandwich) and “frittelle di riso” (rice fritters).
n case you missed it, All Court Tennis Club is hosting a Play and Watch in Turin (see above link) and putting its guests up at the Hotel Victoria, a pet-loving, bicycle-friendly, family run hotel with uniquely decorated rooms, a spa and weekly cocktail hour. Other options are as rich and varied as Northern Italy, itself. NH Collection Torino Piazza Carlina offers a newish, stylish setting in a renovated 17th-century building, while TownHouse 70 is tres chic in Turin’s heart. Hotel Urbani and Hotel Serenella are the economical, yet suitable options. Splashing out is saved for the castle-turned-Castello di Guarene hotel just outside Turin in the Piedmont countryside.
All Court Tennis Club partners with luxury resorts and hotels around the world, providing members with unique benefits such as preferential rates and perks. If you’d like to become a complimentary member of the All Court Tennis Club (and we’d certainly like that!) visit our membership page here.