Mar/19

30

Miami Open 2019 a Big Success

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The general feeling among fans and media and players are that the new Miami Open venue at Hard Rock Stadium next to Calder Racetrack and Casino just off the Florida Turnpike has been a resounding success.

There were a few Key Biscayne hardcores who rejected this new venue initially but after a few days, they changed their tune. Having become familiar with the grounds and their favorite destinations, they like the new Miami Open.

The big video screen is a popular setup, superior to the Crandon Park screen and on par with US Open. Grandstand is easier to get to, so too is Buchholz Stadium.

The general sentiment is that the new venue “is growing on me.” All the media like it but if there’s one complaint it’s that the new main stadium has had too many empty seats and it’s about a five minute walk and elevator ride to get t0.

The Federer matches were the most crowded but most other main events did have empty seats. Overall, every other day has been an attendance record breaker.

Attendance

Thursday night’s attendance pushed the Miami Open over its all-time overall attendance record (326,131) set in 2012. Nearly 350,000 fans have enjoyed almost two weeks of world-class tennis.

 

Date

Session

2019 Attendance

Record Attendance

18-March

1

  **12,859

8,579 (2016)

19-March

2

**11,251

10,966 (2016)

20-March

3

**16,409

13,911 (2008)

20-March

4

8,776

11,526 (2007)

21-March

5

**21,825

15,004 (2016)

21-March

6

**13,388

11,602 (2011)

22-March

7

**29,019

17,589 (2016)

22-March

8

11,799

14,307 (2008)

23-March

9

**32,831

18,910 (2007)

23-March

10

12,588

14,552 (2010)

24-March

11

**27,705

17,051 (2007)

24-March

12

12,813

14,151 (2008)

25-March

13

**19,441

16,152 (2017)

25-March

14

11,927

14,278 (2012)

26-March

15

**17,753

16,168 (2008)

26-March

16

10,869

12,804 (2010)

27-March

17

**20,183

13,580 (2010)

27-March

18

11,267

14,176 (2012)

28-March

19

**13,879

12,072 (2012)

28-March

20

11,342

14,114 (2015)

29-March

21

**15,004

14,272 (2010)

29-March

22

 

14,638 (2011)

 

* = sellout

** = session record

Lots of celebrities have enjoyed the tennis action here – Dan Marino, Carles Puyol, Jerry Seinfeld, Marcelo Rios,   Gaston Gaudio, Jaime Oncins, Hans Gildemeister.  Rios did not even show up last year at Miami Open, which was the 20th anniversary of his beating Andre Agassi to become ATP world no. 1. I asked Hans Gildemeister, former world no. 12, for his opinion and he said, “I think the players like it very much. I do too.”

Walking back to stadium after the media doubles tournament, I saw Brad Gilbert exploring the grounds.

The grounds are far more expansive now, which means more walking and exercise for the fans.

There’s a lot of nice, shaded hangout spots all over the place, but the main meeting point is the front of the stadium big screen, which is excellent sharp quality.

One complaint is that the sidecourts have a bleacher in the middle and about 15 feet of open space from the bleacher to the baseline, which fans are not allowed to stand in, they have to stand behind a barrier and can only see part of the court. The fans should be allowed up to the fence on the side of the court, like it was at US Open. So in essence, many fans are paying to stand behind a barrier to see part of the court, if they can’t get into the bleacher behind the one baseline. This set up hurts the court atmosphere. Also  parking costs $40 (but it’s $25 online).

There also does seem to be a lack of Latino energy and spirit here, which was never the case on Key Biscayne. Maybe if Del Potro played, he would have inspired a different energy. The most spirited match I saw was Jarry vs Chardy, which had numerous Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le chants by Chileans.

The Argentine Ole oh lay oh ley oh chants were lacking, only Andreeozzi inspired a few of those vs Fognini but those were lackluster.

Photographer Alberto Amalfi of Tennisnow.com, summed it up, “This place is incredible. I love it.”

Image may contain: Scoop Malinowski

 

5 comments

  • Dan Markowitz · March 30, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Celebrities, Jerry Seinfeld and Hans Gildemeister, now I know you like Hans, but you’re calling him a celebrity?! I don’t know if 100 people walked by him–even at a tennis venue like the Miami Open, if even 5 would say, “Hey, that’s Hans Gildemeister.”

    Anyway, how’d you do in media tournament?

  • catherine · March 30, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    As a spectator from a great distance I can only comment on how the site came across on tv and I would agree about the stadium. It’s far too big for tennis and seems to have little atmosphere. Not that the women would notice particularly – they’re used to playing in those vast echoing caverns in China.

    For me, Wimbledon’s Centre Court is the right size. On that note – the new roof on No 1 court is about to have its grand opening.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 30, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Yes, Hans Gildemeister is a legend of tennis. He’s pals with Federer. I witnessed John McEnroe try to start a conversation with Marcelo Rios at US Open and he used the name Hans Gildemeister to engage Rios. Was friends with Chilean president. Lost it this year, Lisa Franson said she was giving me the worst partners and she did lol, sorry RP!

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 30, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Stadium is fine, it’s Ashe like. Great finals, doubles too was fantastic win by Bryans.

  • catherine · March 31, 2019 at 2:00 am

    Well, too big for me. But more American perhaps – big stadiums suit the culture. (no criticism – just an observation )

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