Retired American tennis player James Blake has been appointed to the role of tournament director at the Miami Open.
The 38-year-old, who reached a career-high ranking of world number four during his 14 years on the ATP Tour, takes up the newly created position ahead of this year’s edition of the event, which takes place in March.
According to a statement from IMG, the promoters of the tournament, Blake will oversee player relations and media, as well as ‘improvements and innovations’ at the combined men’s and women’s event.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the Miami Open team that has been putting on one of the best tennis events for more than 30 years,” said Blake, who claimed ten ATP singles titles and previously served as vice president of the ATP Player Council.
“As a player, I always loved playing in Miami and I am excited for the opportunity to take the tournament experience to a higher level for the players, sponsors and fans.”
Blake, who retired in 2013 and now lives in San Diego, currently serves as a tennis analyst for both the Tennis Channel and CNN, and is president of the USTA Foundation.
His appointment to the Miami Open role comes ahead of the final edition of the event to be held at Key Biscayne, which has played host to the tournament since 1987.
Late last year, the tournament’s organisers confirmed plans to relocate to Hard Rock Stadium, the 65,000-seat home of the Miami Dolphins National Football League (NFL) franchise, after failing to secure approval for a renovation plan that included a site expansion and facility upgrades at Key Biscayne.
“James’s extensive knowledge of tennis from both a player and tournament perspective, along with his proven leadership skills, great reputation and strong relationships throughout the sport, make him the perfect choice to serve as tournament director of the Miami Open,” said Adam Barrett, the tournament’s executive director.
“He is going to make our team stronger and will be a great bridge for the players and fans.”
This year's Miami Open is scheduled to run from 19th March to 1st April.