The ATP/WTA Miami Open "set multiple attendance records" in its first year at Hard Rock Stadium, with overall tournament attendance of 388,734, "topping the previous record of 326,131" in '12, according to David Furones of the South Florida SUN SENTINEL. For yesterday's Roger Federer-John Isner men's final, 17,373 fans "filed in to watch," which "surpassed the previous mark of 14,625" in '11. This year's tourney "set 15 session attendance records over its two weeks" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 3/31). TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor wrote the "experiment worked" in its first year at the Dolphins' venue. Tignor: "Perhaps because the thought of watching tennis in a parking lot was inherently unappetizing, the tournament went all-out to hide that fact." The grounds were "filled with fountains, flowers, restaurants, and bars at every turn, and even an art gallery." What was "even better" were the outdoor courts themselves, which were "filled to overflowing through the first week." The new tournament facility's "problematic puzzle" is the main arena inside the stadium itself, which has "three temporary sets of stands that rise straight up from the court and offer a decent view even near the top." The fourth side, however, "utilizes the permanent football bleachers, which slope at a low angle away from the court, and quickly take you away from the action" (TENNIS.com, 3/28).
GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION: In Miami, Jesse Scott writes the Miami Open was "not your average tennis tournament," as the move to Hard Rock Stadium "marked a new era" for the event. Once fans "adjusted to the quirky, grand scale of it all, it was fun and full of Miami flair." There was "so much more than just tennis" at the event, but there also was "no shortage of enthralling action" on the court. Scott: "After this successful first year, you’ll want to be at Hard Rock Stadium when the Miami Open returns next year" (MIAMINEWTIMES.com, 4/1).
CHANGING FACE: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman noted with Ashleigh Barty's win in the women's final, it marked the "first time in WTA history" that the first 14 tournaments of the season have been won by different players. Barty said of the parity, "The depth has grown over the last few years and I think anyone in the draw has a legitimate chance of winning. The margins are getting smaller and smaller" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/31).