Miami Open: Prize money slashed; no quarantine but players in bubble

This year’s Miami Open will take place, but with a limited number of fans and vastly reduced prize money

Miami Open 2019 Fans watch a match between Roger Federer, of Switzerland, and Filip Krajinovic, of Serbia, during the Miami Open tennis tournament on Monday, March 25, 2019 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS)

This year’s Miami Open, which will take place from March 22-April 4, will have a much-reduced prize money pot, as the tournament adjusts to the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent restrictions placed upon it in terms of how many fans can attend.

In a document seen by Tennis Majors, Miami says it will offer $300,110 to the winners of the men’s and women’s singles. That compares to the $1.354 million won by Roger Federer and Ash Barty in 2019. First-round losers will receive $10,000.

The total prize money at the Miami Open is also down from $16.7 million in 2019 to $6.68 million ($3.34 million for each of the ATP and WTA events) in 2021.

Roger Federer, Miami Open 2019

Having been forced to cancel last year’s event, organisers of the year’s first Masters 1000 event (following the postponement of Indian Wells) have made changes to this year’s event, including the removal of the stadium court, in order to comply with Coronavirus regulations.

Miami Open to have up to 20 percent of usual fan capacity

All tournaments on the ATP and WTA Tours are reducing prize money in 2021 due to the restrictions on the number of fans allowed in, and that is impacted directly by how many spectators are allowed.

The Miami Open says it hopes to have around 20 percent of its usual number of fans, though that could change, depending on local government rules at the time.

The level of prize money could change, however, if the number of fans allowed changes.

Exemption needed but no quarantine required

Players will not have to quarantine in the same way as they did at the Australian Open, with the United States not asking people to stay in a specific hotel.

However, all players will need a National Interest Exemption (NIE) to enter the country.

Testing requirements

All players and coaches/team members must be able to show a negative Covid-19 test before they are allowed to board a flight to the United States.

Players will be tested on arrival and must then quarantine in their hotel room until they receive a negative result. Players will then be tested four days after their first test.

Players allowed to move only between hotel and site

In order to try to limit potential exposure to the virus, players will have to move only between their hotel and the tournament site. If they are found to have broken the rules, they could be fined and will be withdrawn from the event.

Kevin Anderson

In an interview with Tennis Majors in December, Kevin Anderson said the players understood why tournaments would have to cut prize money and had worked with the Tours to agree a formula.

“Obviously we understand that..the bottom line is the big revenue producer of these tournaments is fans and not just directly fans (but) the amount of sponsorship on site,” he said. “Everything just comes down.”

“I think it’s a very reasonable position to work with the tournaments. Some of them are struggling a lot financially…from what I’m hearing, some of them are even potentially running at a loss. So if they are willing to run the tournaments, I think it’s a good negotiation for the players to understand that and to accept these prize money reductions.

“I think it’s a good system. It’s based on what (percentage) of fans are in the stadium. I mean, if the tournament is running at full capacity, we’ll have full prize money. And that’s a sliding scale. So it’s something that we’ve discussed a lot about in the Council. It’s obviously not an ideal situation for everybody but I think it’s sort of necessary for these tournaments to take place.”

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