Miami Open

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Miami Open


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By: Harvey Fialkov | Jan. 23, 2020

There’s no question that the first year the prestigious Miami Open presented by Itaú tennis tournament moved from Key Biscayne to a 65,000-seat NFL stadium occupied by the Miami Dolphins was a smashing success.

The best players in the world and their fans loved the spacious grounds and accessible parking spots as evident by a tournament-record 388,734 patrons. Everyone got to enjoy a 12-day tennis/music/art/foodie festival all rolled into one.

The tennis wasn’t too shabby either.

What To Expect At The Miami Open

Tennis icon Roger Federer continued to defeat Father Time as well as toppling defending champion and America’s best John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to capture his 101st career title and fourth Miami Open, giving him 28 Masters 1000 trophies.

Federer has already committed verbally to return to the 36th Miami Open, which runs from March 23 to April 5, 2020. At 38 and focusing his curtailed schedule around the four Grand Slams, could this be the last time South Florida tennis fans get to watch the Swiss Maestro in action?

“It was a good atmosphere at the end,’’ Federer said of his first-round escape against Radu Albot last year. “I thought it was quite electric, how it usually is in Miami. I’m happy that hasn’t gone away.’’

While the women top seeds fell early, feisty Aussie Ashleigh Barty trumpeted her arrival with a straight-set dismantling of hard-serving Karolina Pliskova. The victory catapulted Barty, 23, from relative obscurity to year-ending No. 1 in the world after she added the French Open and WTA Finals to her growing resume.

The Big Three of 30-somethings – No. 1 Rafael Nadal, No. 2 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Federer – still stand tall as they compete for the G.O.A.T. mantle, but NextGen youngsters such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Sasha Zverev, Denis Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev and Alex De Minaur are nipping at their heels.

Still lurking to oust the Terrific Trio at the top are Dominic Thiem and former Grand Slam champions – all returning from injuries - such as Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray. Enigmatic Aussie Nick Kyrgios is always entertaining with his trick shots, immense talent and mercurial personality.

The women’s game is wide open now that Carolina Wozniacki is retiring and her BFF and doubles partner, 38-year-old Serena Williams, hasn’t won a tittle since becoming a mom on Sept. 1, 2018.

However, Williams, who has owned a home in Palm Beach Gardens for nearly two decades and owns a piece of the Dolphins, reached two Grand Slam finals last year only to fail to notch major No. 24 that would’ve tied her with Margaret Court for most all time.

Williams is fully recovered from the knee injury that knocked her out of Miami in the second round last year. The clock is ticking so this could also be the fans last chance to witness Williams add to her record haul of eight Miami titles.

Romanian Simona Halep and 20-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, will challenge Barty for the $3.15 million purse, as will two-time major champion Naomi Osaka, 22, Amanda Anisimova, 18, Sofia Kenin, 21, and former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, 26.

The Miami Open: More Than Just tennis

Thanks to the generosity of Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross and his $60 million transformation of a giant parking lot into one of tennis’s finest facilities, the real winners are the fans who get to attend this 12-day party.

Besides elite tennis, they can take in non-stop music and an art gallery right out of Wynwood while strolling exquisitely landscaped grounds where they can enjoy the roomy food courts that feature some of Miami’s finest restaurant fare (Casa Tua Cucina, Bourbon Street, Kiki’s on the River, Sushi Maki, Novecento and Moet Champagne Garden) as well as a rooftop deck and beer garden.

There are four giant LED video scoreboards inside the stadium and three on the grounds so fans don’t have to miss a point while enjoying lunch and dinner.

New this year is a beach-like seating area on the west campus, food trucks next to the Grandstand Stadium and an overhead ski lift-like gondola cable ride that traverses the length of the site.

Miami Open’s Stadium

The change of scenery was needed so that the Miami Open could keep up with the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., which transplanted it as the sports unofficial fifth Grand Slam gem because of the $200 million improvements made by Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

“We are committed to bringing a best-in-class experience alongside IMG to all of the players, fans and partners that will take part in this global affair,” Ross said recently.

The temporary Stadium Court seats 14,000 between the 30-yard lines with the excess seats blacked out to create an intimate experience. Fans can purchase access to the Dolphins’ 72 Club as well as 50 luxury suites.

The players seemed pleased with their plush locker rooms, state-of-the-art gym, as well as spacious lounge areas with private entries that will have triple the space they had before.

“I think the stadium is beautiful,’’ Victoria Azarenka, a three-time winner of the Miami Open, has said. “I think the logistics here work out pretty well. … I think they have done a great job with organizing and it looks like incredible fan experience, as well, for players. There is a lot more room, a lot better facilities.’’

Despite his loss to Federer, the 6-foot-10 Isner raved about the new site. “I’m very happy with it, the atmosphere out there, I can’t tell you how cool that was seeing the upper deck full. The players have enjoyed it. It’s a lot of space. I think the fans have enjoyed it as well, just really, simply amazing.

“I think it’s a good change for everybody and I’m sure they’re going to improve it a lot… They did a great job for the first year.’’

Venus Williams, 39, a three-time Miami champion, loved the intimacy of the 5,000-seat Grandstand Stadium.

“The atmosphere on the Grandstand was something I’d never played in before,’’ Williams said. “The first time I played there I was like, ‘I think I hear foot stomping.’ I never really played in front of a crowd like that.

Tournament director James Blake, once ranked No. 4 in the world, was all smiles after the men’s final.

Hard Rock Stadium will allow us to continue to build and grow the event,” Blake says. “The experiences we will be able to offer both this year and in the future will be amazing.’’

Ticket Packages

A plethora of ticket packages are available including single day and evening sessions and a tournament package for all 24 sessions with access to the grounds and Grandstand. Call 305-943-Open or consult the schedule and all the mini-plans such as opening weekend flex, Final Four for the memorable moment seeker, and a Grandstand package for the hard-core tennis deal enthusiast.

Getting To The Miami Open

Depending whether out-of-towners are staying in hotels in Miami-Dade or Broward counties they can fly into Miami International Airport (MIA), located about 17 miles from Hard Rock Stadium.

Attendees can rent a car at the airport or take Lyft, hop on the 297 bus from MIA for $3 or take an airport shuttle. The Hard Rock Stadium is easily accessible from the Florida Turnpike.

General admission parking has increased from 2,500 to 5,166 spaces in the Dolphins’ cavernous parking lot so that fans can simply park and take a short walk to the action rather than get bused in.

Enjoy Other Miami Events

Players and fans are still close enough to enjoy Downtown Miami hotels, its restaurants, diverse culture and nightlife, as well as Coconut Grove, South Beach and the Wynwood Art and Miami Design districts.

For basketball fans, the Miami Heat will host the Oklahoma Thunder, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns during the first week of play. For those who arrive a few days early, take in the Ultra Music Festival or attend the scrumptious Deering Seafood Festival.

So, if you want to get a close-up look at the greatest tennis players in the world, check out the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LIV in February 2020.

Read More

Annual Miami Sporting Events
Where To Watch & Play Sports In Miami
Things To Do In Miami Gardens
How To Spend The Perfect Weekend In Miami


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