Tennis fans dream of traveling to the Grand Slams to see top players compete for the most elite trophies in their sport. Each major boasts unique charms: The French Open offers the vibrant terre battue, Paris museums, and French food; Wimbledon features hallowed grass courts, traditional white clothing, and strawberries and cream; the US Open has the Big Apple and celebrity fans. But it’s the Australian Open that marks the start of each new year with an exuberant, fun, boisterous two weeks of tennis in the hot Melbourne summer. The players arrive rested and ready to put their off-season training to work, seeking to announce to their peers that this year they intend to climb the rankings – or, in the case of Serena and Novak, retain their thrones.
TWS Tennis Tours Gets the Best Australian Open Seats
Words are insufficient to describe how tennis fans will feel standing in front of Rod Laver Arena, with the Yarra River at their backs, for the first time. What fans may not know is that official Australian Open tour operators have access to the best seats in the stadium, which is why TWS Tennis Tours is able to place its customers just a few rows away from the court. For 18 years, company owner Soha Yamin has been organizing tennis trips with itineraries customized to each client’s interests, a personalized detail that sets TWS Tennis Tours apart from travel companies that only provide one standard schedule for all.
The TWS stands for “Travels with Soha,” which is exactly what clients do. The advantage of having Soha Yamin on every trip is that she’s around to attend personally to details, offer restaurant recommendations, juggle schedule changes, and maybe even to grab a glass of wine at the end of the day with solo travelers. “My philosophy is: I’m there if you want me, and I disappear if you want to be by yourself. I’m always available,” Soha says.
Unlocking the Mysteries of Melbourne
Soha has years of experience visiting Melbourne, which helps her craft the perfect itineraries for her Australian Open travelers. She knows the best restaurants, and they know her – she can walk into any good spot in Melbourne’s CBD and be greeted by name. In addition to the city’s great food and coffee scenes, Melbourne is chock-a-block with interesting alleyways, street art, and shopping arcades to explore. TWS Tennis Tours hires a top local tour guide to show travelers through the city on a short trek culminating in a guided walk through the National Gallery of Victoria to learn about Australian art.
As well as enjoying live tennis from the best seats in the house, TWS Tennis Tours travelers can opt to take advantage of other memorable activities. Soha plans a wine tasting trip to the Mornington Peninsula, a region famous for pinot noir located about an hour south of Melbourne. After visiting several vineyards, the group savors an exquisite four-hour lunch with wines paired to match each course. Some clients on this year’s trip said the outing was a highlight of their vacation. Another unforgettable outing is a visit to Phillip Island to see the little penguins waddle home for the night, bringing fish to the babies waiting in their burrows. Soha arranges for passengers to be picked up at the hotel and driven out to the island, stopping first at Moonlit Sanctuary to see all the iconic Aussie animals: koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and more. The car service confides that Soha is the only travel agent who personally checks the vehicles her clients will be using, and she’s not afraid to reject any that she deems unworthy.
Travelers who don’t want to hang up their racquets during vacation have the opportunity to take a clinic with former pro Andrew Kratzmann, who won nine ATP titles and reached a career-high ranking of 13 in doubles. Getting access to the exclusive Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, home to the Australian Open from 1972-1988, is a special treat. Kratzmann uses his expertise in court positioning and tactical play to teach the TWS Tennis Tours group a few tips to incorporate into their games. He also turns up at the reception Soha holds for all her travelers at the Sofitel hotel, and shares stories about life on the tour and his time playing doubles with a young Roger Federer.
All of these custom-tailored experiences add up to an Australian Open adventure that will exceed a tennis fan’s wildest dreams. To make it all possible, Soha is passionate about helping travelers maximize their airline miles and stay within their means. “If people have limited resources, I work with them to stretch their budget,” Soha says. “Some people have unlimited resources and that gives me open hand to create this great once-in-a-lifetime trip.” Following the tennis, clients can extend their trips to visit Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, New Zealand, Fiji, and beyond.
Incredible French Open and Wimbledon Trips
But the fun doesn’t end in January: TWS Tennis Tours also plans custom trips to Paris and Wimbledon. A visit to the French Open will feature prime seats for the tennis action, in addition to a D-Day trip to Normandy, bicycling in Loire Valley, a river cruise on the Seine, and wine tasting in the Champagne region. As a former Paris resident and fluent French speaker, Soha has a local’s knowledge of the City of Light that allows her to “bring the best of each city;” not just in France, but all over Europe for trip extensions following Roland Garros. At Wimbledon, Soha provides premium seating and access to the Debenture Lounge, as well as private tours of London and a unique gin tasting experience.
If you’ve been dreaming about taking a trip to the French Open, now is the time to make that dream a reality. Visit www. twstennistours.com or call 415-933-6612 to book the trip of a lifetime.