James Blake enjoying challenge of Miami Open move to Hard Rock


Tournament director James Blake is enjoying the challenge of making the Miami Open move to the Hard Rock Stadium complex a popular one.

The upscale environment of Key Biscayne's leafy Crandon Park was the home of the popular Masters 1000 event but the tournament has outgrown the cramped quarters and they were unable to secure the necessary approvals to renovate and expand.

Dolphins' billionaire owner Stephen Ross stepped up with a bold solution to move the event to the Hard Rock Stadium which had been better suited to tailgating than tennis.

The new centre court stadium at the Miami Open

The move provided Blake with the challenge he needed to oversee the bold project, but one the former world No 4 relished.

"I think most people associate temporary with throwing up a couple of tent poles and slapping down a few lines and calling it a tennis court but that is definitely not going to be the case," said Blake.

"I think anyone who knows Stephen Ross will know he wouldn't do anything that wasn't really first class.

"It is a bold idea but I think it is one that is going to pay dividends. We're keeping it (the tournament) in Miami.

"I wasn't involved in those discussions (about moving the tournament) but from all the rumours I heard it seemed pretty close, it was not a sure thing it was going to stay in Miami."

The Miami Open has lived in the shadow of Indian Wells, which behind the considerable investment of billionaire Larry Ellison has grown into the biggest tournament outside the four Grand Slams.

But Blake insists they will try to reclaim some of that lost stature with the move to Hard Rock.

"As a lot of people know, new events that first year can be difficult because you don't have that familiarity," added Blake. "But we are going to do everything we can to make sure we knock it out of the park and keep it in Miami."

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