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Plan to move Miami Open to Dolphins stadium in jeopardy

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MIAMI (AP) An agreement to move the Miami Open to the Miami Dolphins’ stadium is in jeopardy because of a previously undisclosed audit concerning how much money the tennis tournament owes Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the deal after it was amended to have the financial issue resolved by an independent arbiter. But a Miami Open official told the commission the new terms were a deal-breaker that could force the tournament to leave South Florida.

The agreement became public last week, after tournament officials signed paperwork with the Miami mayor’s office to move from their longtime home on Key Biscayne to the Dolphins’ stadium beginning in 2019. Showcase matches would be held in the 65,000-seat stadium, with other matches on the adjacent grounds.

The deal called for the Miami Open to pay $1.3 million owed to the county for tournaments through 2017. But Mayor Carlos Gimenez was unaware until Friday of an outstanding audit that could push the actual amount owed to the county significantly higher, said Michael Hernandez, a spokesman for Gimenez.

Owned by IMG, the Miami Open is under lease to play through 2023 on Key Biscayne, where the tournament has been held since 1987. The event’s future has been in question since a 2015 appeals court decision that prevents upgrades to the Key Biscayne complex.

Tournament officials had no comment after the commission meeting, spokesman Sam Henderson said.

 

Two-time champ Azarenka gets Australian Open wild card

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open.

Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last Dec. 19.

She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10. The dispute with her former partner started shortly after Wimbledon ended.

Azarenka has played only six matches this year and is ranked 208th.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday that every assistance would be provided to the former No. 1, adding “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”

The Australian Open starts on Jan. 15.

Nadal, Muguruza win ITF player of the year awards

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LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.

At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.

The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.

Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.

“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”