We had the privilege of attending the intimate Key Biscayne, Florida tennis tournament, the Miami Open, for many years. At some point, the popular tournament had sadly outgrown its venue at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Florida. We welcomed the opportunity to attend the 2019 Miami Open at its new home with great anticipation! The Miami Open had moved to the Hard Rock Stadium, in nearby Miami, Florida.
Key Biscayne, Florida
The best thing about the location of the “new” Miami Open was you could still stay at your favorite Miami area resort or hotel! We stayed at our favorite resort, the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, which was about a 30 minute drive from the Hard Rock Stadium. There were many reasons why we continue to return to the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, such as the spa, beach, Cliff Drysdale tennis, the Grupo Nostalgia band on the weekends and much more (see my previous Key Biscayne blog)!
While enjoying the sun set, from the resort’s Club Lounge, we spoke to others who were enjoying their vacation. One group said that they were boycotting the Miami Open due to the venue change. They shared that they had played tennis at Crandon Park that day because they missed the Miami Open at its previous location. We respected their opinion, but deep down we were excited about the new venue.
The Miami Open Experience Options
There were different ways to experience the Miami Open. The first option was to purchase a Miami Open Experience. For example, The Cliff Drysdale Tennis experience offered a Miami Open tennis package. They made it easy to play tennis at the Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center daily (on the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne property), stay at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, and then transportation to the Miami Open for a tennis experience (with many options contact firstname.lastname@example.org). This was a great option for a complete tennis package (with someone else doing all the planning).
Another option would be to plan your own Miami Open experience. We booked our room at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Florida. While staying at the resort, there were morning drop-in, tennis clinic at the Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center, on the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne property. We rented a car and drove the 20-30 minute drive to the Hard Rock Stadium for the Miami Open (prepaid for our parking on their website). We had purchased our tickets ahead of time from the Miami Open website, so we were set to watch great tennis.
The Miami Open
We found that the new Miami Open grounds were spacious, and fan friendly. There was plenty of shade, restaurants, entertainment, shopping and things to do for all ages. We went during the busy first weekend and found that we had plenty of opportunity for seating at all of the outside courts. In the main stadium, there was not a bad seat in the house. It seated up to 14,000 people, but was still intimate.
Our trip to the new Miami Open had challenges. I had ankle surgery so needed wheelchair assistance. We found that the Miami Open was very accommodating for those in need.
The first day we brought my knee scooter and collapsible crutches, since we were in the main stadium. While we were in the main stadium the guest relations said she would give us a wheelchair to use, if needed. We decided to try the knee scooter and crutches since stairs on a wheelchair was not an option.
On the second day, during the day session, we were provided a wheelchair for the session. The guest relations representative, Ricky, brought the wheelchair to my car in the parking lot. With the wheelchair, we were able to move around the grounds easily. We watched our matches from great locations and were very comfortable. We rolled into the main stadium and asked about the restrooms. We were directed to a clean, air conditioned family restroom! We were very pleased with the level of service wherever we went.
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Open, Miami, Florida – tennistravelsite.com
Thoughts from our Miami Open experience
The only concern we had with the Miami Open was the configuration of the main stadium seating. The tennis stadium was built within a football stadium. There were many steps. Due to the way it was set up, it was hard for anyone to access seats on the far side of the stadium, let alone for someone who needed to use a wheelchair. We had excellent tickets on the far side of the stadium.
When the day session ran late, there was a mad rush for the night session to be seated. Everyone was directed to go through a single hallway to get to their seats on the other side. I found that although the guest relations was helpful regarding their assigned area of the stadium. Unfortunately, they were not providing direction for those who had problems with stairs to get to their seats. The stadium guest relations wanted us to sit in the wheelchair access area that was much further away, and higher than the seats we purchased. Luckily, we found our own way to get to the other side of the stadium. Although we had arrived very early for the evening session, we ended up missing more than a set, while we attempted to get to our seats. When we finally arrived to our seats in section 111, the person handling the next section waved us over to sit in the wheelchair access area (I wish I had known the section was there before I attacked all the stairs on my crutches)… Although we inquired several times, no one told us that there was wheelchair access area in the section next to our purchased seats, with comparable views of the match. In the end, we were pleased that it finally worked out, but it was stressful. I wanted to hug the section 112/113 attendant! We chalked the misinformation off to the fact that it was a new stadium and that they needed to work on plans to allow everyone access to their seats, or comparable seats, in our case.
The new Miami Open was a wonderful tennis experience. We loved that you can stay at a relaxing resort in nearby Key Biscayne, Miami or Ft. Lauderdale area, travel to the venue and spend an entire day and/or evening watching great tennis at the Hard Rock Stadium. We bid farewell to the former Miami Open with many fond memories! We welcomed the new Miami Open, Hard Rock Stadium, because of its location, the ability for the tournament to continue to grow, so that many more can be a part of this fantastic tournament!
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