Last Updated on March 27, 2023
The Miami Open is the second Masters 1000 tournament in the ATP Tour calendar. Years ago, it was considered the best of its category. The male players with the most singles titles are Novak Djokovic and Andre Agassi (6). On the other hand, Serena Williams won eight (8) titles in the WTA tour. The first edition of this tournament was in 1985.
For many years, it was the favorite Masters 1000 tournament of American players. Between 1985 and 2004, American male players won 13 titles, and foreigners, only six. In the WTA Tour, between 1985 and 2010, a female player played at least on 20 occasions the final match.
Unlike majors and other Masters 1000, Miami Open hasn’t a long tradition in the circuit. Its first edition took place in 1985; for example, Wimbledon has been played since 1877. Nevertheless, his tournament is considered one of the most important ones in the ATP and WTA Calendar. That’s why, In this article, we’re going to tell you 10 things you didn’t know about the Miami Open tennis tournament.
The day an iguana said “hi” in the middle of a Miami Open match
In 2017, in the first round match between Tommy Haas and Jiri Vesley, an unexcited visit came along. During the third set, when the match was 3-3, an iguana appeared behind the results.
At that moment, the cerulean admitted that he couldn’t concentrate enough to keep playing the match. Finally, he won the match in three sets.
The German took the visit less personally. In his last year as a professional, the former number two player in the ATP ranking laughed about the presence of the animal on the court, and even made a joke about it. “Maybe, I realized that it was my last year in Miami and wanted to say ‘hi’ or just take a look. It was pretty funny. I had never seen any iguana of that size”
The organizers, finally, captured the iguana in order to take it away, despite walking all over the field. Haas was so relaxed that he even took a selfie with the reptile. “My main concern at the end was that the iguana could get out safe and sound. I don’t think something like this will happen to me again. Especially since my career is practically over”.
Guillermo Coria had to abandon the final… because of his kidney stones
In 2004, astonishing Guillermo Coria, who was one of the best players in the court, had to walk over the final match of the Miami Open because he had diverticula. During the match, he started feeling pretty bad. El Mago was attended by a doctor several times, despite winning the first set… until the doctor decided to translate Gullermo to the hospital because he was feeling pretty bad.
From the hospital, Coria flew over to Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, where they discovered Guillermo had kidney stones, which he eliminated from his body after peeing. At first, doctors thought that he may have had a herniated disc.
Other south American players, such as Gustavo Kuerten, couldn’t ever win this tournament as well. On the other hand, Chilean Marcelo Rios won this title in 1998 (in fact, he won the sunshine double). Among women, Gabriela Sabatini won this title in doubles and singles. Also, Argentinian Gisela Dulko also won this title in doubles with Flavia Penetta.
In 1989, Thomas Münster was hit by a car just two hours after he won his semifinals match against Janick Noah. That day, the Austrian drove his vehicle to the hotel himself. On the way he made a stop to buy groceries when a car, from the opposite direction, with its driver under the influence of alcohol, collided head-on with Muster’s sports car.
The player, keeping what he bought in the trunk, was dragged by the impact until he was under his own vehicle, causing severe damage to the ligaments in his left knee, which kept him off the slopes for six months.
The plot two is that, in 1997, he could take revenge and win this tournament. He was operated in Vienna, Austria, A few months later, Muster was filmed during one of his training sessions playing tennis sitting in his chair with his paralyzed leg.
Maria Sharapova, Not A Lucky Player
Maria Sharapova is maybe the most unlucky player who has ever played the Miami Open. In five editions, the former number one in the WTA Tour reached the final, but could never win. Between 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Russian lost against Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwańska and Serena Williams. In 2005 and 2006, he was consecutively defeated by Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Sharapova retired in 2020. Of course, he could never win the Masters 1000 in Miami.
Nevertheless, the Russian has been one of the best players in the last few years. She’s a five times grand slam winner and former best player in the world. In the WTA Premier Mandatory, she won Indian Wells (twice), Madrid and Beijing. The Miami Open? Maybe, in seniors, or in the next life.
A Matter Of Names
Besides nowadays it’s called the Miami Open, this Masters 1000 changed its name several times. In its first edition, it was called Lipton International Players Championships. That name remained until 2000, when it started to be known as Ericsson Open. In 2002, it rapidly changed its denomination to NASDAQ-100 Open. Then, in 2007, the tournament changed its name to Sony Ericsson Open, and in 2013, to Sony Open Tennis. Since 2015, it’s been known as the Miami Open.
Perhaps, these changes didn’t help the tournament. It’s always better for players, audiences and organizations to know the tournaments by its name, and if it changes all the time, it’s more difficult to remember it. Still, it’s yet considered one of the best competitions in the Tour.
The player who beat Roger Federer in two consecutive weeks
In 2007, Guillermo Cañas had one of the greatest comebacks of the year. In Indian Wells, he unexpectedly defeated former number one, Switzerland Roger Federer, in the first round. That was a major surprise. Nevertheless, the surprise Argentinian didn’t stop there.
The next week, at the Miami Open, he proved what he was made of and, again, won his match against FedEx. Anyway, Cañas couldn’t gain either Indian Wells or Miami Open (both, known as the double sunshine), but he was lucky enough to defeat Switzerland at the two tournaments.
Anyway, that year, Federer won three grand slams (Australian Open, Wimbledon and Us Open) and achieved the French Open final, where he was defeated by Rafael Nadal. The Sunshine Double affair (or the Guillermo Cañas affair), for Roger, was just a bad nightmare.
A Football Stadium For A Tennis Match
Historically, this tournament was played in Key Biscayne. Before Crandon Park the Miami Open was played in Delray Beach and in Boca Raton. But in 2019, because of financial reasons, it was moved to the Hard Rock Stadium. That’s why, during two weeks of the year, the place becomes a tennis court. Of course, the distance between players and spectators can be problematic. It’s also not a very good show to see on TV. But owners thought it was the smartest decision to make.
Since 2022, Miami also became the home of a Formula 1 grand prix. Casually (or not), its circuit takes place around the Hard Rock Stadium. Of course, the place its also home to important music concerts all over the year. In a few words, Miami’s entertaining life happens in Hard Rock Stadium. And tennis couldn’t be the exception.
The Miami Open, The Fifth Grand Slam?
Once upon a time, the Miami Open was considered by tennis players of the court “the fifth grand slam”. Sadly, that title was achieved 10 years ago (approximately) by Indian Wells. For years, this tournament was the favorite one for the players, without considering the majors. Despite it’s still one of the preferred tournaments in the court, that honor was achieved in the last years by the other part of the Sunshine Doubles.
Anyway, it’s still one of the tournaments with more prize money distributed to the players. Also, it’s a good temperature, the comfortable courts and the great atmosphere, make it, if not “the fifth” Grand Slam, maybe, the sixth one.
The Miami Open, A Big Sports Attraction In The City
The city of Miami is filled with sports. Miami Heat is the NBA team of the City. It was NBA champion in 2006 and 2012-2013. The basketball superstar, Lebron James, was part of the champion team. Since 2022, the grand prix of Miami is part of the Formula 1 world Champion.
Miami It’s also the city where the Dolphins that play in the National Football League (NFL) are from. Also, the Miami Martins of the MLB are also part of the city. In all that atmosphere, Miami Open is one of the main attractions of the city. It’s played at a perfect time in the year. Maybe, that’s why it is one of the most attended tournaments in the whole ATP circuit. No doubt: Miami is a city that loves sports, and tennis is one of the main reasons for that.
The Storm Of The Century And Hurricane Andrew, (also) A Tennis Problem
Miami is well known as a cloudy and windy city. During the year, it may be affected by hurricanes. But Miami Open organizers couldn’t believe that, when they started the construction of a permanent stadium, two climatic problems appeared: in August 1992, the Andrew Hurricane destroyed the place. In 1993, the so-called storm of the century was also a problem for the Key Biscayne tournament.
But Miami Open resilience won. One year later, in the tournament’s ten aniversary, the Miami-Dade County helped the Key Biscayne competition with 20 million dollars to finally construct the stadium, where for many years the USTA Player Development Program also took place. In 1994, the Lipton International Players Championships celebrated its ten years in Crandon Park.