And it is known that a spectacular sports holiday is approaching.
From the advertising banners distributed all over Prague, the encouraging domestic star Barbora Krejčíková invites the viewer, as well as O2 instead of hockey sticks or microphones, the arena already looks out for tennis shoes and rackets.
There is a lively bustle in her womb. Architects of a prestigious tennis gathering walk down the corridors, detailing like net strips or lines in the courtyards.
“We have been building since Saturday morning, over a hundred people work here,” said the president of the Czech Tennis Association Ivo Kaderka at a tour of Tuesday.2 arena and the adjacent O2 universe.
Both playing areas will be ready for the first training sessions on Thursday, when the central number one will be touched by, for example, the Czech number one Krejčíková.
What awaits her and other tennis aces in the bowels of the Vysočina complex?
Especially the light blue courts, which were imported in pieces by trucks from Hungary. “Here we snapped the parts together, but the joints are not visible at all,” shows Kaderka.
Benches for individual teams are already on the sides of the giant jigsaw puzzle. The nervousness that their staff will experience will be compensated by luxury armchairs or a TV screen for watching slow motion shots.
Next, the Hawk Eye Live camera system is waiting for its moment, which will be replaced by line judges. “Compared to the classic hawk’s eye, it is a newer system, we had to add two cameras above the court and another six mines to monitor foot defects,” explains Josef Ženíšek, director of technical production.
From Monday, the orphaned stands will be filled by tennis fans, who have so far bought 55% of the capacity of 15,000 seats at the match of the Czech team in the basic group. The selection of captain Petr Pála will face the Swiss on Monday from 17:00, and the Germans at the same time on Thursday. And on Friday and Saturday, when the event culminates in mid-finals and finals, 65% of tickets have disappeared.
In front of the fans, Czech tennis players will run out of the smallest of the twelve locker rooms, which they deliberately took. They did not want to face the suspicion that, as domestic, they enjoy disproportionate benefits.
Inside, each of the five Krejčíková, Markéta Vondroušová, Kateřina Siniaková, Tereza Martincová and Lucie Hradecká have a place marked with their own name, Captain Pála is sitting right outside the door.
Six entrances, three bubbles
Due to the still unhappy coronavirus situation, the worries that the organizers are solving this year are more difficult to learn than in previous years, when the tennis elite visited Prague.
“We have to create bubbles for individual sections, each must have its own background, toys and coaches must not come into contact with others,” says Ženíšek.
The individual sections are divided as follows: the first bubble includes participating teams, the second organizers and employees of broadcasting rights holders, the third writing journalists and photographers.
There are six entrances to the whole complex, each of the twelve teams must have their own locker room, on the playing days of the basic groups there will be four teams in both halls at the same time. All members of the organizing team must be vaccinated.
“We are building extra and westerns here,” Ženíšek only mentions the specifics when he receives news about the progress of work on the radio.
Yes, it’s still not quite done.
“But we are ready for the starting shot,” Kaderka assures.