Monday, 4 December 2017

ATP Finals in London and working away from home

Annabel Croft holding
the trophy
I have worked as a make up artist for Sky Sports at the Nitto ATP tennis finals at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London since 2009. The Arena is situated on the Greenwich Peninsula on the south side of the River Thames and is also home to a cinema and bars and restaurants. It has hosted a multitude of different concerts and sporting events and is perfect for a tennis final. Getting there is easy .. by river boat with Thames Clippers, by bus or by tube on the Jubilee line to North Greenwich station, right next door to the Arena entrance. Emirates Air Line also operates a cable car crossing over the river to the Royal Victoria Dock offering spectacular views of the Dome, Canary Wharf and the Thames Barrier.
Crossing the bridge
across the dock

In the past we have stayed close by in the centre of Greenwich with a short commute each day via a 5 minute boat journey in the morning and organised transport back at night. This year we stayed at Canary Wharf .. closer as the crow flies across the river on the Isle of Dogs. The quickest route to the O2 was by tube - a mere one stop away - journey time 2 minutes! Not counting of course the walk to the station from the hotel. Given that we were spending the majority of our working day indoors in relative darkness and artificial light, it was a pleasurable 5 minutes walking in the fresh air and daylight across the docks on the footbridge every morning.

Canary Wharf
Most days were sunny and dry and quite cold with only the odd bit of fog in the morning. Whatever the weather, we didn't care, we just appreciated being able to be out in it!

Every day without exception was long with a minimum of 12 hours covering 2 sessions - an afternoon and an evening. I would make up the team in the morning and maintain their appearance throughout the day and also make up the occasional guest in the studio. The atmosphere was always great as this tournament hosts the top singles and doubles players in the world. 

Dining bus view
Every morning we would grab a quick breakfast at the hotel, have soup and sandwiches for lunch and a lovely hot dinner in the evening in our crew catering dining bus with a fabulous view of Canary Wharf. If we got there early enough, we would be lucky to see the sun set. Even in the darkness the views were stunning.

The O2 and Canary Wharf
On the final day, we prerecorded the opening sequence to the show with our main presenter Marcus on the Emirates Air Line Cable Car. It's something I've always wanted to do and was thrilled to get the chance, particularly as it was such a beautiful day. I doubled up as lighting camera assistant holding a reflector on our host's dark side as the sun was so bright. Luckily I was still able to snap a few photos on our 10 minute each way crossing, something I would have hated to miss.

The final day seemed to go so quickly as there was only one session and it wasn't long before it was all over and we were derigging, packing to go home and saying our goodbyes. The final itself was fantastic, one of the best - a real battle between Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin - the victor being Grigor Dimitrov - his first title win at this event.

The team - Marcus, Annabel, Greg and Jamie
speaking with Grigor after his win
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