The blueprint for the Sony Ericsson Open existed long before the tournament materialized as part of the tennis landscape in the United States––more specifically in Miami.
The man who pursued the dream and saw it through to its often-complicated conclusion was Butch Buchholtz, a former tennis pro who toured with such notables as Pancho Gonzalez and Jack Kramer back in the 1960s.
On February 4, 1985 after years of negotiations with the ATP and WTA, the first ball was served in a combined tennis event called the International Players Championships sponsored by Lipton.
Tim Mayotte and Martina Navratilova were its first two winners. In fact the final featured Chris Evert and Navratilova and the stands were jam-packed.
The inaugural tournament was held at Delray Beach.
After relocating a few times, the tournament finally settled in the newly constructed Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Miami-Dade Country in 1989. In 1994 came the addition of a $20 million permanent stadium.
Andre Agassi holds the record for the men having won this title six times in his career. The next closest male is Pete Sampras who won this title three times. Ivan Lendl won the title twice.
Current players Andy Roddick and Roger Federer have also won this title twice.
Current top seed and top-ranked Rafael Nadal has never won the title at the Sony Ericsson Open. Perhaps this year?