Miami Open Returns Without World Number One Competing

Tomas Curcio, Staff Writer

The Miami Open returns to Hard Rock Stadium on Mar. 21 and continues until Apr. 3. This will be the stadium’s third time hosting the tournament after organizers moved it from Crandon Park Tennis Center Key Biscayne to this location in 2019. After the tournament’s cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament has found newfound normalcy after subsequent showings.

 Beginning on the heels of Indian Wells in California, the tournaments form the Sunshine Doubles, a pair of Masters 1000 tournaments. Masters 1000 tournaments are the second highest level of professional tennis tournaments. Professionals consider Indian Wells and the Miami Open the most prestigious Masters 1000 tournaments of the season.

Daniil Medvedev enters the Miami Open as the number one seed despite an unexpected early loss in the second round of Indian Wells to Frenchman Gael Monfils. This loss caused Medvedev to lose his newly crowned position as the number one ranked player in the world.

Novak Djokovic – the player who regained his position of number one after Medvedev’s loss and a six-time Miami Open champion (a record he shares with Andre Agassi) – withdrew from both Indian Wells and the Miami Open due to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. 

Additionally, both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, two of the most dominant players in the history of tennis and former world number ones, have also pulled out of the event.

Federer has struggled with a knee injury since August 2021 and has not shared when he plans to return to the professional tour. Nadal, who unlike Djokovic and Federer is currently playing Indian Wells, pulled out of the Miami Open due to fear of injury on the cusp of the clay court swing, the most important period of the season for Nadal. Nadal, the most dominant clay court player of all time, who has yet to lose a single match this year thus far, fears that the transition from the Miami Open hard courts to the European clay courts would put an undue strain on his body.

The 2021 Miami Open champion, Pole Herbert Hurkacz, returns to the tournament seeded eighth and hopes to defend his first Masters 1000 title. 

Other former champions also return to the tournament,  including the 6-foot-10-inch American John Isner, the 2018 champion who won, similarly, his first Masters 1000 title there, and former world number one and two-time former champion British Andy Murray, who enters the tournament as a wildcard.