By Steve Gorten
KEY BISCAYNE – The first of six matches Thursday at the 2015 Miami Open won’t start until 1 p.m., but you can watch some of the world’s best pro beach volleyball players spike balls just west of stadium court two hours earlier.
The first session of a three-day exhibition tournament at the Miami Open Experience sand that’s become a popular spot for tennis fans to lounge, will start at 11 a.m. and run until 6 p.m.
The tournament, which will continue Friday (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), is a new showcase at the Miami Open and will feature six teams comprised of AVP Pro Beach Volleyball stars that include:
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings
Olympic gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers
Olympic silver medalists April Ross and Jennifer Kessy
Olympians Jake Gibb, Nicole Branagh and Sean Rosenthal
The 12 men and women players will also hold skills clinics at the site.
All of the players participating hope to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The 2015 AVP season will start Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans and will feature seven tournaments around the country. In June, an international Olympic qualifying event will be held in St. Petersburg.
See the gallery below to find out some of the players fans will be able to enjoy at the Miami Open Experience: