What are the Sunshine Double events in tennis?
The Indian Wells Masters and Miami Masters are back-to-back Masters 1000 events on the ATP Tour. Held in consecutive weeks under the March sun, the winner of both these events in the same calendar year is said to complete the Sunshine Double.
Former USA No.1 player Charlie Pasarell joined hands with Raymond Moore, who was the founder of a company called PM Sports Management. Indian Wells was later selected as the venue and a luxurious resort and tennis facility were constructed there. Newsweek became the title sponsor of the event and this led to the birth of Newsweek Champions Cup held in Indian Wells. In 1990, when Hamilton Jordan founded the ATP World Tour, he included Newsweek Champions Cup as one of its elite tournaments which are now known as the ATP 1000 tournaments. The women’s event was renamed to Evert Cup after Chris Evert in 1992.
In 1997, it was categorized under WTA’s “Tier 1” category; the then highest WTA category. The Indian Wells Tennis Garden was established in 2000. It was now the second largest stadium in the world with a seating capacity of 16,100. In 2011 the tournament became the first in the world to have Hawkeye installed on every court. In 2014, 431000 people attended the tournament which was the highest in the history of any non-grand slam event.
Butch Buccholz was a former World No.5 and was a part of the “Handsome Eight” of tennis. Almost a decade after his retirement, he became the executive director of the ATP. During that time Buccholz met the vice president of the Thomas J. Lipton Company and proposed an idea of creating a two-week tournament. During that time the Australian Open was held in December. The tournament proposed by Buccholz was the first tournament of the year. First time in 56 years, a two-week tournament was launched in 1985. The tournament titled by Lipton was thus dubbed as the “Winter Wimbledon.”
Buccholz made a deal with ATP and WTA and eventually bagged the tournament rights for the next 15 years. However, the organizers found it difficult to find a perfect home for the event as they changed the venue from Delray Beach to Boca West but were still not finding the stability that they needed. Merrett Stierheim, the then WTA Executive director helped Buccholz to shift the tournament to Miami. He suggested multiple venues in Miami and Buccholz chose the one that borders Key Biscayne.
The event in Miami was widely appreciated and enjoyed by the players and the spectators. In a lightning quick speed, the draw at Miami showed one of the most competitive fields on tour and was surpassed only by Grand Slams. The Stadium Court which was worth $20 million was widely known for being the best center courts in the world. The Miami Open is estimated to receive over 14000 hours of global TV coverage and was broadcasted to 193 countries/territories to nearly 70 million viewers worldwide in 2017. Since 2019, the event is held at the Hard Rock Stadium on a characteristic outdoor blue-hue hard court.
Most successful players
Indian Wells Masters: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (5 titles each)
Miami Masters: Novak Djokovic (6 titles)
Sunshine Double: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (thrice each)