Stage set for stars to dazzle O2 Arena again
Thursday 18 November 2010
Two nights ago, Gorillaz were strutting their stuff at London's O2 Arena. Yesterday morning, not long after Damon Albarn's band had left the stage, work began to prepare the premises for the next headline act on the Greenwich Peninsula.
Over the next three days, the arena will be converted from a concert venue into an indoor tennis stadium. The season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, featuring the world's best eight players, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, begin on Sunday. Organisers are confident they can build on last year's successful tournament, which was watched by more than 250,000 people, a world record for indoor tennis.
The only major hiccups 12 months ago were the late finishes and confusion over the qualification process. This year the matches start 45 minutes earlier, with the last singles of the day beginning around 8pm, which will help spectators returning home by public transport. The singles final on Sunday week will start at 5.30pm in the hope of attracting a larger television audience.
Officials say there will be no repeat of the embarrassing scenes of last year, when players and public were kept waiting for many minutes before they were told who had qualified for the semi-finals after the last match in Murray's round-robin group. This year an announcement can be made as soon as the match is over. Spectators will also be better informed about the possible final outcomes before the final round-robin matches commence.
Visitors to the arena, including those without tennis tickets, will be able to enjoy a large "Fan Zone", which features an interactive area for children, bars, shops and two practice courts with seating for 400 spectators. Several of the players at last week's Paris Masters welcomed the installation of a fast court, but the playing surface in London will be appreciably slower. "We're using the same surface that we've used for the last 15 years," said Brad Drewett, the tournament director.
* The former world No 1 Carlos Moya, who won the 1998 French Open, announced his retirement yesterday at the age of 34.
Luckless Abou Diaby full of confidence as he attempts yet another Arsenal comeback
Arturo Vidal: Midfielder must ask to join Manchester United, say Juventus
Scottie dogs in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony 'disrespectful to Muslims', say Malaysian politicians
Calum Chambers joins Arsenal: Gunners complete £16m transfer of right-back
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 Is Ebola coming to Britain? UK health officials issue warning to doctors as outbreak fears grow
- 4 Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
- 5 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?