Miami is known for its NBA team; beach parties; green spaces; Caribbean culture; cruise ships; and wild child reputation in reality shows like Jersey Shore, Kourtney & Khloe and The Real Housewives. But the Miami you should get to know is a tennis fanatic’s paradise, filled with plenty of places to play and watch on palm-shaded oceanfront. Read on to find out why MyTennisLessons loves the tennis community in Miami.
In February 1985, Miami was dubbed the site of the “Winter Wimbledon” when former player Butch Buchholz established at Delray Beach a two-week tournament for men and women — the first of its kind in 56 years. Currently known as the Miami Open and played at Key Biscayne, the hard-court event has men and women’s singles draws of more than 64 players, making it one of the largest professional tournaments in the world. The most recent champions were Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, who hold the tournament record for oldest and youngest winners respectively (Djokovic also won in 2007 at age 19). While the Open may not measure up to Wimbledon, in 2010, some 300,000 people attended the Miami matches — about the same number of attendees at the U.S. Open the following year. The Miami Open has continued to surpass 300,000 visitors since then and has been named “Tournament of the Year” 10 times.
You may know her as a tennis commentator on TV, but Mary Joe Fernandez was once ranked as high as no. 4 in the world, and the native Dominican was raised in Miami, where she became known as a great junior player after winning four consecutive Orange Bowl titles. Fernandez never won a grand slam in singles, but was runner-up three times and also medaled at the 1992 Olympics.
In addition to the Miami Open, the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl Tennis Championships brings thousands of visitors to the area. More than 1,400 12-and-under and 14-and-under players from 74 countries will compete for the crown at sites in Miami, Key Biscayne and Coral Gables Dec. 14-23. Miami is also home to several top college tennis teams, including the nation’s no. 1 Division II women’s tennis team at Barry University. The Barry men’s team is currently ranked no. 3 in the country, while the women’s team at University of Miami has had an impressive run at the Division I NCAA Championships the past eight years, reaching the “Elite Eight” six times. Miami residents should look forward to watching the teams in action at their home courts this spring.
With Miami’s tropical climate, it’s no surprise the city seems to have an infinite number of parks with tennis courts. At Margaret Pace Park, players can look out over the bay, while Morningside Park has seven hard courts open until 9 p.m. on the weekends. Tennis players will find three courts at Palm Island Park, whose name perfectly describes the tree-lined islet in the intercostal waterway. The Flamingo Park Tennis Center in South Beach has 17 lighted courts, including some clay courts, and is adjacent to a pool and other athletic facilities. Players can also play at Haulover Beach Park on the marina — and if you’re feeling bold afterward, you can strip down and head to the beach’s clothing-optional section. Take a tennis lesson at any of these beautiful court locations with a MyTennisLessons coach in Miami. Read about our Miami team and sign up for lessons today … the Miami courts are calling your name.