Washington: Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, who has played four Miami Open finals and won three, all on the old Crandon Park courts in Key Biscayne, said that he has “mixed feelings” with this year’s move to the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
For the first time in 31 years, the tournament has another venue built with an investment of $60 million and which already had, on the first day of the qualifying phase, about 13,000 spectators inspecting the new facilities, reports Efe news.
“I understand all that, but I also recognise that it was a great tournament, with a lot of history,” Federer said on Tuesday.
“We must not forget that it was considered the fifth most important tournament on the circuit, only surpassed by the four Grand Slams.”
Federer recalled that, at the old venue,he starred in matches with five unforgettable sets since he began to compete there, including his first final in 2002 which he lost in four sets to the American Andre Agassi.
“Much time has passed since I arrived at this tournament in which I had some epic battles,” said Federer, adding “I remember when I first arrived in 1998, when I won the junior title after first defeating David Nalbandian in the semifinals and then Guillermo Coria in the final in the fight for number one in the world.”
The duel against the two Argentine champions is remembered by Federer as something very “special” amongst the experiences he had on the courts of Key Biscayne.
In addition, it was the first year when the tournament took place at the Crandon Park headquarters, where he then managed to win the tournament three times, the first two consecutively (2005 and 2006) and 11 years later, in 2017.
“So clearly I have mixed feelings about the change, but I hope it’s all for the better. And I understand the logic behind this, it’s about adapting to the new times in all aspects, but of course, I’ll miss the place,” Federer said.