Novak Djokovic skips Miami, putting family above tennis

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic will not chase his seventh Miami Open title in the next two weeks, joining other leading tennis stars on the exit list. Novak is the fourth top-6 player who will not travel to the USA for only one tournament, following Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer as the most notable names who had already withdrawn from the season’s first Masters 1000 event. Novak should have been the top seed and seek the first Miami crown since 2016, but he decided to stay in Europe and spend more time with his family ahead of the clay swing. Thus, the youngsters Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev should lead the field and chase the notable title and 1000 ATP points. Djokovic suffered early Miami losses in 2018 and 2019 and was the player to beat in Florida before that after winning three straight titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016, two of those without dropping a set!

Novak’s first Masters 1000 crown came in Miami 2007, still as a teenager, and he had to wait until 2011 and 2012 to lift more trophies in Florida, starting domination that was halted only by Tommy Haas in 2013. Two years ago, Djokovic won the opening set against Roberto Bautista Agut before experiencing a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 defeat in two and a half hours. Roberto toppled Novak in the semi-final of Doha in the first week of that season and repeated that in Miami after a terrible start, dropping the opening set in just over 30 minutes and saving a break point at 5-5 in the second.

Novak Djokovic will not compete in Miami this year.

A rain delay probably helped the Spanish player shake off the pressure and return stronger, overpowering Novak with flat and aggressive shots to advance into the first Masters 1000 quarter-final since Montreal in 2017! Bautista Agut won just one point more than his opponent, fending off nine out of 13 break chances and converting four out of seven chances to match Novak’s pace in sets two and three and cross the finish line first. They had a similar number of winners and unforced errors, and Bautista Agut forged a slim advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes and in the most extended ones to emerge at the top and set the quarter-final clash against John Isner.

“Dear fans, I’m very sorry to announce that this year I won’t travel to Miami to compete. I decided to use this precious time at home to stay with my family. With all restrictions, I need to find balance in my time on tour and at home. I look forward to coming back next year!” Novak Djokovic said.