Rafael Nadal will not make the trip to the U.S. for the Miami Open, sharing on Twitter that his efforts will be focused on getting healthy for the his most dominant surface.
“Sad to announce that I won’t be playing in Miami, a city that I love,” he wrote. “I need to fully recover and get ready for the clay court season in Europe.”
Nadal, who struggled with a back issue at the start of the year, hasn’t played since seeing his two-set lead to Stefanos Tsitsipas slip away in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. The Spaniard was bumped out of the No. 2 spot in the ATP rankings this week by Daniil Medvedev, the first men’s player since July 18, 2005 not named Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray to reach the Top 2.
The left-hander wasn't the only notable name to disclose Miami is not in their 2021 plans on Tuesday. Following his Dubai second-round exit, world No. 4 Dominic Thiem also confirmed he will skip the 1000-level event in favor of being fresh for the swing of tournaments on red dirt.
"Right now, I'm in a tough period. It just wouldn't be the right thing to go to Miami," he told press. "Need to make a little reset, regroup, and hopefully have a good clay season. That's my main goal now."
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has triumphed in Miami six times. Besides Djokovic, the only active ATP players to taste victory at the longstanding tour stop are four-time winner Federer, 2018 titlist John Isner and two-time champion Andy Murray, who received a wild card into the tournament on Monday.
Federer and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka previously withdrew.