Miami Mayor Says Keeping ATP/WTA Miami Open In The City Is A "Top Priority"
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez weighed in on a proposal by Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross to move the ATP/WTA Miami Open to Miami Gardens from Key Biscayne, saying his "top priority is to keep the tennis tournament in Miami," according to Michelle Kaufman of the MIAMI HERALD. Gimenez: "If it is in Key Biscayne, great. But the main thing is to make sure it doesn't leave Miami." Gimenez added local authorities are "trying to unravel ourselves" from an "unbelievably restrictive" deal with the Matheson family over use of Crandon Park, the event's current site. When asked how long it would take to complete construction on a tennis complex, Ross replied, “No time. A year ... a small challenge.” He added that a tennis facility "would fit in with his concept of the stadium site being a multi-purpose entertainment complex." Ross: "We’re exploring it. If they can stay on Key Biscayne, they’d probably prefer to stay there. But it’s more important to people in Miami that they don’t lose the tournament somewhere else. That’s what’s key. Just like they lost the golf tournament. We’re looking to do what’s good for South Florida" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/28). The AP's Steven Wine wrote the tournament "still draws most of the world's top players, along with more than 300,000 spectators each year, but the future of the event has been in question" since a '15 appeals court decision that prevents improvements to the Key Biscayne facility. Roger Federer said, "At this point everybody understands if it were to move." Wine noted there has been "speculation for more than a year that the tournament might relocate, with potential sites ranging from South America to China." Federer: "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" (AP, 3/27).
NOT SO SIMPLE: In Ft. Lauderdale, Christy Cabrera Chirinos writes relocating an event of the Miami Open's magnitude "isn't exactly an easy process." On the men’s side, any request to move a tournament "must meet the requirements and approval of the ATP board, which consists of three players, three tournament representatives" and ATP Exec Chair & President Chris Kermode. The women’s side "would follow a similar process." The players, for the most part, "want to see the tournament stay in South Florida and on Key Biscayne in particular" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/28). The HERALD's Kaufman noted more than 14,000 "spirited fans packed to the top" of the Key Biscayne stadium yesterday as Federer beat Juan Martin del Potro in the round of 32 (MIAMI HERALD, 3/28).