Dec 20 (Reuters) – The Miami Open will move in 2019 to Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins National Football League team, tournament owner IMG announced on Wednesday.
The news that the tournament will stay in south Florida ended speculation it would move interstate or overseas and delighted local resident Serena Williams.
“I am thrilled the Miami Open is staying in Miami, where it belongs,” the 23-times grand slam champion said on the tournament website.
The centrepiece of the new facility will be a 14,000-seat centre court on the stadium field, with screens covering unused seats.
Organisers describe the move to the Miami Gardens location as a significant update, with more courts (30 compared to 21 now), more parking and better spectator and player facilities.
Organisers cited the move as necessary because the tournament outgrew its current island home at Crandon Park, which will host the event for the final time next March.
The Miami Open is one of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, the most prestigious level outside the grand slams and ATP finals, and one of four Premier Mandatory Events on the WTA women’s tour.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis
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