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opinion

April 3th, 2013

Adios to another Sony

A

 With one last amazing rally ending in a gingerly placed dink shot by Novak Djokovic, just over the net, the Sony Opencame to an end, putting a sporting period on yet another Key Biscayne tennis spectacular and it was my pleasure to cover it for you.
For nearly a decade, I’ve had the privilege giving you a look at the entertaining people and events in and around the tournament, and the assignment continues to produce a never-ending supply of feature stories.
I consider myself your personal press pass.

The good
As always, the action on the courts was world-class. From the qualifying matches to the exhilarating finals on Stadium Court, the athletes exhibited one-of-a-kind skill sets that produced moments that will never be repeated. The gravity of impromptu excellence in the flow of competition is to be noted and appreciated.
Despite fears of excessive traffic, there were fewer complaints than usual about getting on and off the island, minus the usual backups before and after big matches. It’s only fair to acknowledge that despite not being able to come and go without pumping your breaks, the in-car experience has, if not gotten better, not gotten any worse with the growth of the event. Thank goodness.
The fans. The people who attend the Sony and the positive energy they produce are what make the event.
Once again, in excess of a quarter million people graced the grounds of Crandon Park and filled the place with a collective feeling of family that makes this event special.
The eclectic array of human beings who come together from all over the world with the common goal of having a good time is a sight to behold. What we have in the space of two weeks in terms of people getting along is something people around the world could learn from, and we should be proud we serve as an example of a place where people of every, race, religion, nationality, creed and color not only get along, but have a great time together. Well done.
The bad
It almost goes without saying the “suspicious package” scare at the Sony was the low point of the Sony Open. Only a couple weeks from the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, it was an eerie feeling to be on lockdown at Crandon Park as a bomb squad took precautions to make sure our lives were not in imminent danger. It was frightening, even without anyone getting hurt.
There were, of course, debates on the decision not to notify fans of the situation on the public address system, but that was a decision that can be debated on both sides.
The not so great side of the event this year was the website. For some reason, IMG decided to fix something that wasn’t broken. In the past, sonyopentennis.com was quick and easy to navigate, but this year it was difficult to find information about the tournament, causing many people to go to other tennis websites to find things out about The Sony. No bueno.
And finally, fans in both men’s and women’s semifinals lost big time when both matches ended with a walk over due to injuries. Fans who paid big money to come to top flight tennis at Crandon were not only disappointed by the fact they missed out on seeing potential champions play, but that they were merely given a ticket to next year’s tournament.

It’s been a ball
From the beginning to the end, the Sony Open continues to be my favorite annual assignment. From hitting tennis balls with Novak Djokovic to interacting and observing fans and players alike, it’s – no pun intended – a ball.
Next year will be different.
The $50 million renovation has already begun. One day after the tournament concluded, the makeover went into action, and, although we’ve reported about the changes and seen maps and artist renditions, we will have to wait to see the real thing when the Sony Open returns next year.
So with that, the Village of Key Biscayne should give itself a collective pat on the pack for hosting a first class event and being lucky enough to have a good time along the way. Well done.
See you at the Sony next year.


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