The season's first Masters 1000 event starts in Miami on March 24, and Roger Federer will not be there to defend the title he won in 2019. The four-time champion hasn't played since the last year's Australian Open due to two knee surgeries.
The Swiss will return in Doha next week and will probably play in Dubai a week later before taking a break, with no Miami Open in his schedule plans. The Miami Open tournament director James Blake would love to see Roger in the draw, although he fully understands the situation and that Roger has to get back at 100% physically after such an extended injury.
James praised Roger by saying that he is an incredible ambassador of our sport, hoping to see him active as long as possible. The Miami Open moved from Crandon Park to Hard Rock Stadium in 2019, and Federer was the inaugural champion at the new venue.
Roger beat Daniil Medvedev, Kevin Anderson and Denis Shapovalov in commanding style and became the first player with 50 Masters 1000 finals. In the title match, Federer dethroned John Isner 6-1, 6-4 in 63 minutes after a one-sided affair, dominating from start to finish against the rival who barely finished the match after struggling with a left foot injury.
John needed nine tie breaks to reach the final, winning them all but not having too much left in the tank for the most important clash. Federer grabbed four breaks and dropped three points behind the initial shot to mount the pressure on the other side of the net.
James Blake would have loved to see Roger Federer in Miami.
Roger broke John three times in the opener to bring it home in under 25 minutes, reading rival's serve beautifully and building momentum ahead of set number two.
Isner fought well in the opening eight games before that foot injury that bothered him a lot, barely moving in the last ten minutes. The medical timeout couldn't help the American, and Roger broke him in game ten to seal the deal and close a perfect Miami campaign with the title.
"We certainly would have loved Roger to return to Miami to defend his title. However, as a former player, I understand that you need to travel and playing schedule to properly work your way back to 100% fitness when coming off an injury.
Roger is an incredible ambassador for the sport; the longer he can play on tour, the better it is for all of tennis," James Blake said.