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Dolphins owner keen on moving Miami Open near stadium

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is interested in moving the Miami Open tennis tournament to the team's stadium complex, and there have been discussions regarding his proposal, a person familiar with the talks said Sunday.

Ross wouldn't buy the tournament but would invest in a tennis center on stadium grounds, because he wants to keep the event in South Florida.

"When I read the Miami Open might leave, and I spoke with them, if it's an alternative between staying on Key Biscayne or leaving, I wanted to present them a vision where I thought it could work at our stadium," Ross told reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix on Monday.

The tournament has been held since 1987 on the island of Key Biscayne near downtown Miami. But the event's future has been in question since a 2015 appeals court decision that prevents upgrades to that complex.

There has been speculation for more than a year that the Miami Open might relocate, with potential sites ranging from South America to China, but tournament officials say they're staying in Miami.

"We're just exploring it. It's not like it's there," Ross said. "If they could stay in Key Biscayne, they'd probably prefer to stay in Key Biscayne. It's a great alternative, but most important to the people of Miami is they don't lose the tournament somewhere else. That's what's key."

Ross mentioned he's not ready to say how long it would take for the Dolphins' stadium to be ready to receive a tennis tournament.

"We would take advantage of the stadium renovations. We spent a lot of money there and it's really become an entertainment capital with what we've done with soccer and entertainment acts and football."

Three-time Miami Open champion Venus Williams lives in South Florida and owns a minority share of the Dolphins with her sister, Serena. Following her third-round victory on Sunday, Venus Williams was asked about Ross' interest in moving the event to his stadium.

"He loves tennis, I love tennis, so, mmm, let's keep it in South Florida," Williams said. "If it works, I would love that."

Owned by IMG, the tournament annually attracts more than 300,000 spectators.

ESPN's James Walker and The Associated Press contributed to this report.