TENNIS NEWS • MASTERS 1000 EVENT IN MIAMI SET TO MOVE FROM KEY BISCAYNE TO THE MAINLAND

Written by: on 29th November 2017
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Miami Open tennis tournament
TENNIS NEWS • MASTERS 1000 EVENT IN MIAMI SET TO MOVE FROM KEY BISCAYNE TO THE MAINLAND

epa05884525 Hats are stacked for distribution to thousands of tennis fans before Roger Federer of Switzerland faces Rafael Nadal of Spain in the Men's singles final match at the Miami Open tennis tournament on Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA, 02 April 2017. EPA/ERIK S. LESSER  |
Masters 1000 event in Miami set to move from Key Biscayne to the mainland

By Ricky Dimon

As has been anticipated for many years, the Miami Open is finally getting a new home. Officials for tournament owner IMG have filed paperwork with the office of Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez to relocate the Masters 1000 tournament from Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne to mainland Miami. The new site will be the current home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

 

Miami-Dade commissioners must approve the agreement.

 

Assuming an approval is made, the 2018 Miami Open will be the last on the island of Key Biscayne. That will mark end one of the longest-running traditions in Miami-area professional sports. This event has been played at its current venue since 1987, never leaving despite enduring a host of name changes from the Lipton International Players Championship to to the Lipton Championships to the Ericsson Open to the Nasdaq-100 Open to the Sony Ericsson Open to the Sony Open and finally to the Miami Open presented by Itaú. Coincidentally, 1987 is the same year the Dolphins started playing at Joe Robbie Stadium (currently called Hard Rock Stadium).

 

Tournament organizers have threatened to move the Miami Open off the key after running into various legal roadblocks over the last few years preventing the expansion of Crandon Park Tennis Center. Their new hope is to upgrade the tournament with state-of-the-art facilities at Hard Rock Stadium. Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross has proposed a new $53 million tennis complex both in and around the football stadium. A portable main court will be constructed inside Hard Rock Stadium, while a Grandstand and permanent courts for both matches and practices will be constructed outside the primary stadium.

 

“I mean, it depends on the importance of the growth of the site,” Roger Federer said during a press conference at the 2017 Miami Open when asked about a possible location change. “I know they can’t grow, so traffic is rough. It’s not getting easier. I don’t think they can improve much in terms of capacity.

 

“So the question is: is everybody happy this way or not? If you want to go bigger, clearly you have to move. But is the grass always greener on the other side? I’m not sure. It’s a hard one. I know this tournament from a long time ago here. I even played the juniors back here on this very court back in ’98. So, look, in a way you wish it goes on here. I think at this point everybody also understands if it were to move.”

 

“I mean, Key Biscayne–it’s just like paradise, I think, for the players,” Florida resident and Hall of Famer Chris Evert added.

 

“But when I do hear mumblings and rumblings a bit about the venue it’s from the spectators…. Getting there and the parking, it is a hassle. It isn’t Indian Wells. It still has a lot of heart and a lot of history and it has a lot of fans. So I, for one, am really disappointed if it would move or when it moves. I’m going to be sad about it.”

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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