South Australian tennis enthusiasts have been left “disappointed” after thousands were left in a queue prior to ticket sales for a star studded one-day tournament.
Would-be attendees for A Day at the Drive believed tickets would go on sale at 11.30am, with no queue to be formed before that time.
But as more people pulled up the website in preparation, they were shocked to discover a queue of thousands had already formed, dictating the order people would be given access to tickets for the event.
International superstars including Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep, Dominic Thiem and Naomi Osaka will play matches at the January 29 tournament, which sold out within minutes.
Sophie Walker, of Nailsworth, said she was “disappointed” by the entire process.
The 26-year-old said she and her sister had tried to buy tickets but had more than 8000 people in front of them when they went on to the site just after 10am.
“We did not know the tickets were going on sale until early this week because they had not disclosed that yet,” Miss Walker said.
“It is such a shame as we were looking forward to going (and) a lot of other people were in the same boat.”
She said the general public should have been warned of the ticket purchasing system prior to Thursday’s sale.
“We were not notified of the system and people who were not in the queue got to log in before people in the queue.”
Fiona Stokoe, 37, was one of the lucky few who secured three tickets to the day session.
The Richmond resident said she downloaded the Ticketmaster app in the morning, logged in and immediately joined the queue after she saw it.
“At 11.32am I was in but could not secure any type of evening ticket, which was my preference,” Mrs Stokoe said.
“I tried my hand at the day session and was able to get tickets with restricted view.
“There was a one-minute countdown to secure the tickets, so I bought them and then looked at the seats and map after. There was no time to think.
“Everyone else I know who did similar things were not so lucky.”
Many people took to social media to vent their frustration, with some saying they had more than 10,000 people ahead of them in the queue.
“How can you say that sales open at 11.30 if there was a wait list which opened earlier than that? This is really unfair, next time just say when the wait list will open,” one user wrote.
“1500 people in the queue waiting when logged in at 11.25!!! No chance getting tix when that happens … next time I’ll queue up early like everyone else … doesn’t seem fair but live and learn,” another person commented.
“Not sure why they have an “on sale” time when it turns out you can join the queue early. Lesson learnt!,” one post read.
“Not impressed with this system! Why say sale starts at 11:30 but there was a queue that opened up well before that,” another said.
The international stars and their support staff began flying into Adelaide last Thursday night and are completing 14 days of quarantine at the Majestic M Suites Hotel in North Adelaide.
They have been granted exemptions by SA Health to practise at Memorial Drive prior to the event but under strict conditions.
The tournament at Memorial Drive will have two sessions over the course of the day.
Tickets started from $30 for adults and $5 for children.
A Tennis SA spokeswoman said tickets were sold out in under half an hour.
“A Day at the Drive has a reduced venue capacity of approximately 4000 per session in line with state government requirements to ensure the safety of spectators,” they said.
“A ticket queuing system was implemented based on expected demand to ensure fair access to patrons.
“If there is an opportunity to release additional tickets, the event will look to do so.”