By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The 2019 Miami Open begins Monday, March 18th and for the first time in tournament history, the Miami Open is taking place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Previously, the tennis tournament was played in Key Biscayne since 1987.
The tournament starts with qualifying women’s and men’s singles matches and finishes up Sunday, March 31st with the men’s singles final and the women’s doubles final.
Big names in the sport are headlining the event including Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Juan Martin del Porto and 2018 Miami Open defending champions John Isner and Sloane Stephens of Fort Lauderdale.
Both of the world’s number one ranked players, six-time Miami Open winner Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will also play at the tournament. The now 21-year-old Osaka, who resides in Boca Raton, upset Serena Williams in the first round of last year’s tournament.
At the time, when she was asked how she was able to focus on playing great tennis and not on the legend, Osaka said: “I’m not really sure. I just kind of wanted to impress her, and I just wanted to make her say, ‘Come on!’ one time, and I think she did, so I’m really happy about that.”
Miami Open owner IMG partnered with Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross to turn Hard Rock Stadium into a premier tennis infrastructure. After a $500 million-dollar renovation in 2016, the stadium now has a 14,000-seat center court and 29 additional tennis courts.
Grounds passes for the tournament start at $15. Full tournament packages start at $1,200. There are also mini plans for the final four matches in stadium court including the men’s semifinals, women’s final and men’s final starting at $275 a seat.
Television coverage of the Miami Open will begin Wednesday, March 15th starting at 11AM on the Tennis Channel. A week later, ESPN takes over broadcasting responsibilities on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.
During last year’s tournament, the Miami Open was displayed for over 14,000 hours in 193 countries and territories to more than seventy million viewers.