The fans poured through the gates Tuesday on the first day of the Miami Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne.
For them, that would probably be the last time they go through those gates, and their opinion and feelings were seemingly unanimous.
They do not want to see this world-caliber tennis tournament move from Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium next year.
However, there is one shared opinion that will bolster the backers of Hard Rock and the change of venue.
Most of the fans said they would give the Hard Rock site a chance and attend next year, either out of their love for tennis or curiosity of seeing the new facility.
Typical comments were offered by Clara Ayala and cousin Maria Ayala along with friend Alan Ruiz.
Clara, 23, was the most vocal of the trio.
“It’s a horrible decision to move the tournament,” she said. “This tournament is about the atmosphere. It’s about the environment. You can stare at the beautiful ocean coming over here. It’s wonderful. This place feels like a park.
“I like it here very much.”
Clara enjoys watching tennis but admitted, “I don’t understand the rules at all.”
Will she be at Hard Rock next year? “Sure,” she said, “as long as somebody gives me a free ticket.”
Cousin Maria Ayala, 24, making her first visit to the tournament, said, “I like the atmosphere. We pick a player [how handsome he is can be a factor] and root for him.”
Maria admitted she would give Hard Rock a chance next year simply because of “curiosity.”
Clara and Maria were in a food area enjoying a beer with friend Alan Ruiz, 23, who definitely proves you do not have to be a stellar player to enjoy tennis and the tournament. “I’ve never swung a racket,” Ruiz said, proudly noting, “But I’ve watched on TV. The environment is the thing here.”
Ruiz wonders if the move to Hard Rock will cost the tournament some of its big names, “And it’s the big names that attract people.”
Without hesitation, all three agreed on one thing: “The beer is really great.”
Some more-experienced tennis players also offered their thoughts on the year-away move.
Verena Schmid, 25, and Caroline Schmidt, 24, both play for defending national champion Barry University and both have 12-0 records this year.
“It’s so sad about it leaving because it’s so nice here,” Verena said. “Even if it does move, I would still go.”
Teammate Caroline added, “The players are so good. It would be nice if it did not move, but I would have to watch it at the next place to make up my mind.”
One final opinion was offered by Joaquin Zapata, 28, who started playing tennis at age 7.
“I’ll probably go next year, but it’s so nice here they will need to prove it’s a good experience.”