On Monday, Miami Open introduced by Itau Match Director James Blake completely spoke to ATPTour.com concerning the occasion’s new venue, Laborious Rock Stadium, probably the most attention-grabbing suggestions he is gotten, David Ferrer and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
What’s been the most effective a part of the venue change for you to this point?
For me it’s the optimism. The truth that any time a participant or a fan or anybody asks for one thing, that we often have the power to handle it. We’re developing with options to the minor issues which might be developing. However I simply love the truth that we’re going to have the ability to continue to grow this occasion, and we’re going to be higher and higher and yearly the gamers are going to return again to some kind of enchancment. I’m simply actually loving the optimism.
Numerous the gamers had emotional ties to the previous venue at Crandon Park as a result of they’ve performed there as juniors and professionals. What has the method been like serving to convey them on board right here?
I actually understood the skepticism final yr, once you hear there’s going to be a stadium court docket inside a 60,000-seat stadium and there are going to be 29 different courts in a parking zone. It doesn’t sound interesting to a whole lot of gamers. However then once they’ve seen it, they’ve come round and so they see how effectively it was finished, how world-class the courts are.
Among the gamers don’t take the time to exit to the village and see what’s on the market for the followers, however hopefully they will no less than recognize that there are such a lot of followers. We’re breaking information practically each session, in order that they’ve bought extra followers to observe them play and I feel they’re having fun with and appreciating that as effectively.
What’s been the most important praise you’ve gotten from the gamers?
I’d say from a participant simply listening to the truth that they like it. They’re excited to be right here. To date probably the most animated they’ve gotten is with the espresso. They’ve bought good espresso right here. They didn’t prefer it at first, we fastened it straight away, and we bought some good espresso. I’m not a espresso drinker so I don’t have the identical ardour, however the ardour of espresso drinkers is fairly sturdy.
Arthur Ashe Stadium is one factor with greater than 23,000 seats, however your important court docket is inside a soccer stadium. How particular has that been?
I feel it provides us distinctive alternatives as a result of we’ve bought the 9s, which is 9 unbelievable suites. We’ve bought The 72 Membership, which is one other suite up slightly larger and we’ve bought the posh seats down by the court docket. Individuals are sitting in recliners. I really went out yesterday and watched about half of a match sitting in these recliners within the entrance row. Even the US Open that’s bought 23,000 seats and it’s stunning, it’s wonderful, it’s cutting-edge, it doesn’t have that type of luxurious the way in which that we now have right here.
So we’ve bought a fairly distinctive promoting level to a whole lot of followers. I spoke to a fan simply the opposite day saying we had been in Indian Wells, we got here right here as effectively and we simply bought talked into this improve and we’re doing it once more subsequent yr as a result of this suite is unbelievable, we’ve by no means skilled something like this in tennis. To have that type of praise and to have that type of potential makes me actually enthusiastic about what the followers can expertise right here as a result of it’s actually distinctive.
What’s been your favorite tennis second of the occasion?
I’d say Ferrer coming via towards Sascha Zverev. I like Sascha Zverev, he’s going to have a ton of nice experiences in tennis, a ton of nice moments, however Ferrer, that is one among his final occasions. He’s bought solely two extra occasions after this. We gave him the wild card as a result of he’s finished a lot for the game of tennis, been a finalist right here earlier than. The followers actually love him and deservedly so. He’s the type of man who involves work daily giving his absolute 100 per cent and he confirmed that, labored extraordinarily arduous to beat Sascha Zverev on a hard-fought night time match.
So to have him win a pair matches in his swan tune, it’s fairly enjoyable for me to see. It’s a whole lot of enjoyable when somebody’s already reached that time of their profession that they know they’re finished, however they’ve nonetheless bought slightly bit left within the tank.
Did that night time convey again any reminiscences to your three matches towards him and kind of offer you flashbacks?
I keep in mind enjoying him and the way troublesome it was and so I sensed a few of Sascha Zverev’s frustrations when he was enjoying him. It did convey again some reminiscences of a few of my matches with him and simply watching him play lots as effectively, I feel a whole lot of gamers respect and admire how a lot he’s gotten out of his sport. At 5’9” towards a Tour that has grow to be more and more tall and massive and powerful, he’s accounted for that with coronary heart, with intangibles and with consistency and an incredible mindset for the sport.
It’s one thing that’s actually spectacular as a result of as they at all times say you possibly can’t educate 6’6”, you possibly can’t educate somebody genetics. However his coronary heart, that’s one thing he’s kind of been born with, however it takes a ton of labor each single day to be dedicated to placing within the effort that he’s placing in. I like seeing that and I like the way in which his profession has gone and the way in which he’s retiring now, he’s going to be a legend in our sport for a really very long time.
Whereas David is closing out his profession, Felix Auger-Aliassime is simply getting began, and he’s into the Spherical of 16 at an ATP Masters 1000 occasion for the primary time. What’s it been prefer to see him break via at your occasion?
It’s a whole lot of enjoyable. Felix is somebody who performed qualies as a wild card final yr, performed qualies this yr. He would’ve gotten into the primary draw if it had simply been a pair weeks later. To come back via qualies, it very simply could possibly be the final qualies he performs in his profession as a result of he’s that good that he ought to by no means actually be dropping again down into qualies. He’s bought such wonderful expertise and it’s enjoyable to see as a result of he’s bought a very good head on his shoulders for a man who’s solely 18 years previous. He’s far past the place I used to be at 18 bodily and emotionally, so I feel I’ve bought a whole lot of respect for the way in which he’s gone about his younger profession already, placing his well being first, doing a whole lot of issues the correct means, taking steps within the course of slightly than making an attempt to make large leaps and bounds straight away.
If you take these steps, it’s wonderful how rapidly these bounds come. You begin having success faster and faster and it turns into nearly simpler than anticipated. Now persons are beginning to anticipate huge issues out of him and we’ll see as a result of the following step resides as much as these expectations and determining find out how to cope with these mentally and emotionally and the truth that there are such a lot of people who find themselves going to be on him, whether or not it’s media, sponsors, critics, every part’s going to be round him and he’s bought to have the ability to distance himself from that and concentrate on the tennis.