A few days before we departed for Miami for Ultra Festival we realised that the Miami Open was on during the same weekend. We've FOREVER talked about going to the tournament as it's only a short hop away from Cayman and hosts some of the world's top players every year, and yet we've never managed to get our act together and each spring we mutter "next year" and forget all about it.
Well not this year! Knowing that we were already going to be in Miami, and that Federer was attending, there was no way we were going to miss it!
The tournament spans over 2 weeks (and weekends) so the first week is full of action on the outside courts while the second weekend sees the top names battle for the trophies in the main stadium. The days are also split into morning and evening sessions - the first starts at 11am and the latter at 7pm, with 4 matches during the day and 2 matches at night. We chose the day session as we were going to the festival in the evening - and it was bloody brilliant! The perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon sipping beers and watching some of the biggest names in Tennis.
Set on the beautiful Key Biscayne - an easy 15 minute Uber from Brickell - the event has an awesome, friendly atmosphere with plenty of concessions selling food and drinks from the moment the first ball is hit - champagne anyone?
We had tickets for the stadium court but decided to spend some time wandering around the grounds and checking out some of the action on the outside courts before the main arena really got going.
The first big name we saw was Ferrer taking on a young Spaniard who played an electrifying match to cause the first major upset of the day!
Then we headed up to our seats high up in the stadium to watch Wawrinka cruise into the 3rd round - there doesn't seem to be a bad seat in the house as even the "nose bleeds" aren't really that far away from the court and you can still see the players and everything that's going on.
Following the end of that match we took a break and went for another stroll, grabbed another drink and caught the likes of Mattek-Sands and Isner showing off their skills in the Grandstand, before heading back to see the legend himself - that's Fed in the green :)
He was up against a local 19 year old who gave him a good run for his money taking the first set to a tie break - the crowd was going wild and if there's one thing the good old US of A can be commended for is it's showmanship when it comes to live sport. There was music blaring between each game, people dancing in the stands and a lot of cheering and clapping.
If you've been considering a trip to the Miami Open, I couldn't recommend it enough. Tickets are affordable, it's incredibly well organised, easy to get to and serves up some awesome tennis. It's back in March next year - put the dates in your diary now!
My top tips?
- You can book tickets for the stadium in advance if you know when you want to go, or you can grab ground passes on the day if you're leaving things to the last minute. This isn't Wimbledon - you won't have to camp out or queue all night long, there's plenty of tickets to go around, BUT if you want to see the big names on the show courts it's worth planning ahead as those tickets will sell out and, as with most things, buying them from re-sellers will run a premium
- Chose between the day or the night session but don't plan on doing both in the same day. It's a long day! The day session means you'll be in the sun for 5 hours and after that you'll probably want a shower and a change of scenery.
- Take an Uber or a Lyft - DON'T drive. The lines we passed for the car parks can only be described as insane and I'm sure people were there for at least an hour if not two waiting in line. Uber and Lyft have a drop off location right at the tournament gates so save time and hassle by going door to door (and enjoy a drink while you're there).
- Bring a hat and sunscreen. Once you're in the stands there's no hiding from the sun so plan accordingly!
HAVE FUN! Whether you're a tennis fan or not, you'll have a great time.
Is it wrong that I'm excited about Wimbledon already?!