July 26, 2021

Tennis: farewell Key Biscayne, Miami enters the era of gigantism at Hard Rock Stadium

Turning the page from Key Biscayne, or to be more precise from Crandon Park, the tennis club where one of the most important tournaments of the year was played since 1987, is not easy for the stars of tennis.

It’s a bit sad, because Key Biscayne was part of the history of our sport, it was an iconic setting“, recalled last week in Indian Wells the world N.2 Rafael Nadal who, injured in a knee, bypassed the tournament in Florida.

A lot of things will miss me“, added his great rival Roger Federer, who won the Orange Bowl, the world junior championship in 1998.

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It will be weird to play this tournament in a new setting, I understand why the decision was made, but I will miss Key Biscayne“, admitted the Swiss maestro, crowned three times on the island off Miami.

In Key Biscayne, the Miami Open was tight.

The organizers, the giant IMG / WWE who wanted, for a time, to make it the fifth Grand Slam tournament, wanted to modernize the facilities to increase the comfort of players and spectators, and especially revenues. But the local population put them at odds.

So much so that IMG even considered moving the event to Orlando or California.

Until the owner of the Miami Dolphins football team, of which Serena Williams is a shareholder, offered them a way out.

Billionaire Stephen Ross, who made his fortune in real estate, has made his stadium, Hard Rock Stadium, available to host the event for the next twenty years.

For the 2019 edition, a provisional 13,800-seat Central has been built in the American football stadium, with luxurious boxes. On the neighboring car parks, a permanent stadium with 5,000 seats and thirty courts has been built, double the amount that existed in Key Biscayne.

The space dedicated to players has tripled whether it is for the locker rooms, the gym and the restaurants. The top eight players will even each have their own locker room.

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We will offer luxury services never before seen in tennis“, assures the tournament director, former player James Blake.



Pierre Assouline, journalist, writer, member of the Académie Goncourt and columnist for L'Express.Pierre Assouline


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