Miami Open

  • ontennis
  • 31 March 2016
  • 05:03

The Miami Open is an annual tennis tournament for men and women held in Miami, Florida. It is an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event on the men's tour and a Premier Mandatory event on the women's tour, played on hard courts at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park. The tournament is held in March each year. It is owned by IMG.

The tournament has had multiple sponsorships in its history. It was initially known as the Lipton International Players Championships and was a premier event of the Grand Prix Tennis Tour from 1985 until 1990 as part of the Grand Prix Super Series. In 2000, the event was renamed the Ericsson Open. In 2002, the event became known as the NASDAQ-100 Open. In 2007, the tournament was renamed the Sony Ericsson Open, in a deal by which the company would pay $20 million over the next four years, until 2014. From 2015–2019, the international bank ItaΓΊ became the presenting sponsor, making the official name of the tournament Miami Open presented by ItaΓΊ.

In 2010, a record 300,000 visitors attended matches at the 12-day Sony Ericsson Open, making it one of the largest tennis tournaments outside the four Majors.In 2011, 316,267 visitors attended the Open.

The court has been criticized as the slowest hardcourt on the tour, subjecting players to endless grinding rallies in extreme heat and humidity.

History

The tournament was founded by former player Butch Buchholz. His original aim was to make the event the first major tournament of the year (the Australian Open was held in December at that time), and he dubbed it the "Winter Wimbledon". Buchholz approached the ATP and the WTA, offering to provide the prize-money, and to give them a percentage of the ticket sales and worldwide television rights in return for the right to run the tournament for 15 years. The two associations agreed.

The first tournament was held in February 1985 at Laver's International Tennis Resort at Delray Beach, Florida. Buchholz brought in Alan Mills, the tournament referee at Wimbledon, as the head referee; and Ted Tinling, a well-known tennis fashion designer since the 1920s, as the director of protocol. At the time, the prize money of US$1.8 million was surpassed only by Wimbledon and the US Open. (The event's prize money has since grown to over US$9 million.)

In 1986, the tournament relocated to Boca West. After its successful second year there, Merrett Stierheim, Dade County Manager and Women's Tennis Association (WTA) President, helped Buchholz in 1987 to move the tournament to its current home in Key Biscayne. In keeping with the ambitions of its founder, the tournament has been maintained as one of the premiere events in tennis.

In 1999, Buchholz sold the tournament to IMG.