"Slowly" working his way back: Roger Federer won't defend Miami title

"Slowly" working his way back: Roger Federer won't defend Miami title

The 39-year-old, who is slated to begin his comeback from a pair of right-knee surgeries next week, is due to play consecutive ATP 500 events in Doha and Dubai that precede Miami’s place on the 2021 calendar.

Four-time Miami Open champion Roger Federer will not make a trip to the U.S. later this month to defend his title.

The 39-year-old, who is slated to begin his comeback from a pair of right-knee surgeries next week, is due to play consecutive ATP 500 events in Doha and Dubai that precede Miami’s place on the 2021 calendar. Federer, along with Ashleigh Barty, triumphed at the combined 1000-level tournament in 2019. Organizers canceled the 2020 edition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After Doha and maybe Dubai, (Federer) will go back and do a training block to continue to slowly work his way back out on tour,” his agent Tony Godsick told the Associated Press.

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Federer also missed the event in 2015 and 2016. The 20-time major champion is currently ranked No. 5, but will see his 1,000 points from Miami two years ago drop off unless the tour announces a further rankings system adjustment. The Best of 24-month ranking is currently in place through the week of March 15, 2021.

Without Indian Wells leading into Miami this year, it remains to be seen whether that will influence players to opt out of the longstanding event in South Florida.