By: Ismael Rodriguez
Since the Miami Open moved to Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, in 1994, the event has brought the best tennis players in the world come March, and although this year is no different, there is talk of shifting the historic event to Miami Gardens for the 2018 campaign.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross proposed building a tennis complex next to the Hard Rock Stadium and partnering with Miami Open owners in order to keep the event in Miami as opposed to losing it to another city because of an ongoing lawsuit, according to a report by the Miami Herald.
If the tournament were to move to Miami Gardens under Stephen Ross, it would include a private funded Stadium Court inside the football stadium for matches, a smaller Grandstand Stadium with permanent match courts and practice courts.
It would also hold a hospitality area with permanent dining and entertainment facilities that would be used for any fans attending tennis, football, soccer games and other events.
“I have heard that Steve Ross has an interest in building a facility and moving the tournament there, and I think that would be an excellent alternative, but only if it doesn’t work out in Key Biscayne,” Butch Buchholz, the founder and longtime director of the Open, who retired two years ago, told the press. “But if this lawsuit keeps the tournament handcuffed from making necessary upgrades, then the Dolphins option would be welcome.”
The lawsuit comes from the Matheson family in order to control the original tennis facility built to house the tournament. This power struggle is rooted in a 1993 settlement between the Miami Open owners and family, which provided the 975 acres for Crandon in exchange for a bridge connecting the mainland to the family’s properties on the island in the 1940s.
As a result, the Ross initiative started when Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez wanted the opportunity to fight in court over the strict control of the tournament, something the Miami Open owners failed to acquire in court last year.
“I remain committed to the operation and programming of Crandon Park for public purposes and am committed to working together to ensure that Crandon can become the great public park that our residents expect and deserve,” Gimenez told the press.