MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - One of the biggest names in tennis attended the groundbreaking for a South Florida tournament that’s moving to a new home.
The Miami Open kicked off Monday, and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was there as organizers of the popular events announced major plans about its future.
Part of the South Florida culture for more than three decades, the tournament is moving from its current Key Biscayne location to the Miami Gardens venue.
The big move was thanks in large part to Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross.
“I love Miami first, and I love sports,” he said, “and I want to bring great events to South Florida. We have a huge capital investment there, as you can see, and you want to make the most use out of it.”
Ross and Williams smiled for the cameras as they headlined the groundbreaking at the Miami Open’s new site. It is scheduled to be ready in time for next year’s tournament.
“It was crazy. Steve always has these great ideas, and they always tend to work,” said Williams, “but we were thinking, ‘How? How is this going to work?’ But he’s just an innovative thinker.”
Already one of the world’s largest and most prestigious combined tennis events, the move to Hard Rock Stadium will allow the Miami Open to grow.
“There’s no place probably more aspirational than Miami,” said Ross. “This is the place where the players want to come, where people want to be, I think, in the whole world.”
The main attraction to the move will be a new center court, which will showcase a 14,000-seat stadium within the football field.
“We had all this land; I figured there had to be a way to do it,” said Ross. “We got the designers involved. I think you’re not going to have a venue like this. It will be like no other.”
The Miami Open holds special significance to Williams. She’s won it a record eight times.
“I had some great times, some great memories there, and so many iconic moments have happened there,” she said. “Now I feel it’s time to start new memories and new moments.”
Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.