Miami, March 20 (IANS) The Miami Open tennis tournament has officially initiated its move from its historic location on Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium where, starting in 2019, it will begin to create new memories that leave behind nostalgia for its three decades at Crandon Park.
With triple the area available, Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins football team and of the stadium, along with tennis star Serena Williams, tourney director James Blake, and Mark Shapiro, President of the IMG company that owns the tournament, had a ground-breaking ceremony on Monday for the future tennis courts, reports Efe.
The stadium will have 7,000 more seats for a total of more than 32,000, plus nine additional courts for a total of 30, while installations for players like locker rooms and gymnasiums will have double the capacity.
“I feel like Key Biscayne had some wonderful memories, especially for me, had some great times and great memories there and, you know, so many iconic moments happened there,” said Serena Williams, eight-times winner of the Miami Open and investor since 2009 in the Dolphins, Miami’s pro football team that calls the Hard Rock home.
“Now I feel like it’s time to start new memories and new moments, and I feel it’s going to be just as great,” she said.
Stephen Ross, whose investment made it possible for the Open to remain in Miami, said that Williams will “probably be the first person to win a tennis tournament she owns.”
In an event at the same Hard Rock Stadium, Serena confessed that when Ross mentioned the idea of moving the tourney there, everyone including Mark Shapiro, co-president of IMG that owns the tournament, thought he was crazy.
“I thought Steve was crazy too, for the record,” Williams said. “But he’s a visionary and always thinking out of the box, and it’s such a great idea. We want this to be the best tournament ever.”