The Tennis Center at Crandon Park (7300 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne) is actually the third home of the Sony Ericsson Open. Butch Buchholz, former pro tennis player turned promoter, first organized the event in Delray Beach, then Boca Raton. Considered to be the Fifth Grand Slam because of its tournament size (96 men and 96 women in the singles draw and 32 doubles teams), the Sony Ericsson has always attracted top players who covet winning its title and a portion of that $9 million in prize money. Oh, and both tours have classified it as premier mandatory. Skip it without a good excuse and you risk losing ground in the rankings. Fuzzy balls start bouncing Monday with qualifying play, but the actual tournament gets going Wednesday with the championships planned for April 3 (noon, womens final) and April 4 (12:30 p.m., mens final). Tickets are as low as $5 for the qualifying matches; those for the finals run from $52 to $425. Call 800-725-5472.
Wed., March 24, 9 a.m., 2010