Miami Open Director Blake Was Berated By Top ATP Star For Granting Kyrgios Bigger Court

Miami Open Director Blake Was Berated By Top ATP Star For Granting Kyrgios Bigger Court

by Nurein Ahmed

Nick Kyrgios is currently out of the limelight due to an injury hiatus, but he was previously a force to be reckoned with such that he caused quite a furore at the Miami Open.

The incident happened in 2018 during the last staging of the tournament in Key Biscayne and was disclosed by director James Blake, who was fulfilling his role in his first year in charge at the Miami Open.

Blake, a former tennis pro, reached a career-high ranking of World No. 4. He had a decent career, winning 10 ATP titles and reaching three Grand Slam quarterfinals. He was also part of the USA team that won the 2007 Davis Cup title—the country's last-ever title in the competition.

Since hanging up his rackets for good in 2013, he didn't stay out of the tennis ranks for long because five years later, he was appointed Miami Open tournament director.

During an episode of the Served with Andy Roddick podcast, the 44-year-old delved into his job description. As tournament director, I usually have face-to-face meetings with players, usually ranked at the top of the agenda.

Blake revealed that he was confronted by a former Masters 1000 champion who criticized him for prioritizing Nick Kyrgios's match to be scheduled on the main court. The American remained tight-lipped on the identity of the player, who was instead told he would play on the Grandstand.

"We’ll keep it anonymous, I’ll name one name. It was my first year so 2018, we’re still at Crandon Park and Nick Kyrgios [is a] huge story as he still is always."

"We’ve got him on Stadium and another player that was far more accomplished - not a Grand Slam champion but a Masters 1000 champion - a very, very top player. And he was on Grandstand."

Although Grandstand is not an outside court, it is the second biggest court in the tournament. The anonymous player was unimpressed and stacked up his argument by mentioning that he had a superior resume than Kyrgios'.

The former World No. 4 then explained his decision regarding the schedule because it presented a "security risk." He also apologized to the player, who eventually accepted his fate.

"He was pretty unhappy about that and so he had someone from his team come and say ‘Hey, so and so is really upset and he wants to talk to you.’ So I go to the locker room and he’s like, ‘What is this BS? He hasn’t accomplished this. Look at my resume and look at his resume."

"I was like, ‘Look, we put him out on one of the outside courts for doubles and we actually had a security risk because we had so many people crushing to get there. The only option is we’ve got to put him on stadium. It’s just such a big story we’ve got to do it. I’m really, really sorry.'"


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