Roger Federer withdraws from upcoming Miami Open. Here is why he’s skipping March event

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Michelle Kaufman
·3 min read
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Swiss superstar Roger Federer is withdrawing from the upcoming Miami Open. He will take a break after he plays Doha, and maybe Dubai, to work his way slowly back on tour following two knee operations in the past 12 months.

Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, confirmed to the Miami Herald on Monday that the 20-time Grand Slam winner and Miami Open defending champion will skip the tournament this year. He is making his comeback at Doha in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, which begins March 8, and may also play Dubai the following week, but will then take a training break.

He last played Jan. 30, 2020 when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals.

The loss of Federer is a big one, as he is always a crowd favorite, but the field still includes many Grand Slam winners including Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and reigning Australian Open champions Djokovic and Naomi Osaka. Djokovic is a six-time winner at Miami. Nadal has won 20 Grand Slam titles.

All but one of the top 77 ranked men and 75 of the top 78 ranked women are on the entry list for the tournament, which will be held for the second time at Hard Rock Stadium. It runs March 22 to April 4.

The tournament will also feature the next generation of stars — including 2021 Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev, 2020 US Open Champion Dominic Thiem, 2019 ATP Finals Champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, World No. 7 Alexander Zverev and entertaining Australian star Nick Kyrgios.

Stan Wawrinka and 2018 Miami Open champion John Isner are also on the list.

The women’s field is led by Osaka, who just won her fourth Grand Slam title in Australia, and 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams, who has won eight titles in Miami. World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, the 2019 Miami Open champion, will be back to defend her title. The tournament was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Other top women in the field include: 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek, 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Venus Williams, Garbiñe Muguruza, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens, Jelena Ostapenko, and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Other players to watch include Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady, 2019 Miami Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, World No. 4 and Pembroke Pines native, Sofia Kenin and American, Madison Keys.

Among the teenagers to watch are two South Florida residents -- 19-year-old Amanda Anisimova from Aventura and 16-year-old Coco Gauff from Delray Beach. Both won their first WTA singles titles in 2019.

A limited number of fans will be allowed to attend, per COVID-19 restrictions. Approximately 15 percent of the Grandstand Court capacity, or roughly 750 seats per session, will be available. The Grandstand will be the marquee court this year, as the tournament announced it will not have a Center Court inside the stadium, as it did two years ago.

In 2019, the first year the event moved from Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium, the total attendance was 388,734.