They'd never been to the tennis before, so watching from their own apartment with a never-ending beer supply, a 24-hour concierge and six of their closest friends wasn't a bad way to ease in.

Michael Jenks, 27, of Takapuna and Amber Thoresen, 26, of Milford, had the best seats in the house at the Heineken Open, which started yesterday.

Perched on the roof of the ASB Tennis Arena, their two-bedroom pad - set up for the event - overlooks the centre court.

As well as catering by SkyCity, they have the use of a spa, swimming pool and gym and tickets to the after-party.


The couple won a competition through Heineken for the use of the apartment until after the tennis ends on Sunday, and they can invite up to six friends a day.

Miss Thoresen said said they were looking forward to watching Greek-Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, a notorious racquet-thrower, play America's Steve Johnson today.

"We want to see some broken racquets."

A chef for the Engine Room restaurant at Northcote Point, Miss Thoresen said she wasn't a very sporty person, but loved watching it.

Her partner, a product manager for importer the Monaco Corporation, played tennis when he was about 14.

The couple may venture to Mission Bay for breakfast but weren't planning on straying too far from the stadium over the next seven days.

The stands at the two courts weren't full yesterday, when qualifying finished and round one began.

But hundreds more are expected later in the week when top seeds such as four-time Heineken Open champion David Ferrer join the action.

Waiheke Island resident Eileen Evans was yesterday lounging on a bean bag watching on a big screen in the Heineken Open Baseline Live Site as Colombian Santiago Giraldo played Albert Montanes, from Spain.

Her 8-year-old grandson Oliver Reilly, who had just started playing tennis, was challenging a staffer to a game of swing ball.

"He must have amazing patience," she said.

"They've been at it for about an hour in the sun."

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