‘Rafael Nadal is already thinking about…’, says former Top 10

Through his official Twitter account, Rafael Nadal announced on Wednesday that he will not take part in the Masters 1000 in Miami next week due to the usual back injury (which has been tormenting him since the beginning of the season). The Spanish phenomenon, who has only played in the Australian Open so far, has not played in the Florida tournament since 2017, when he surrendered in the final to eternal rival Roger Federer. The 34-year-old from Manacor also had to overtake Daniil Medvedev in second place in the ATP ranking. The forfeit of the 20-time Grand Slam champion was followed by the most unexpected one of Dominic Thiem, whose start of 2021 was far below his standards. The winner of the US Open 2020 did not go beyond the round of 16 in Melbourne Park, before leaving the scene prematurely in both Doha and Dubai. Nicolas Massu’s protege has confided that he is not at the top physically and mentally, so he is likely to return for the season on clay. During the press conference after the elimination in the first round of the Dubai Open, David Goffin analyzed how the minds of Nadal and Thiem are already focused on other appointments.

Goffin on Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem

“They (Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem) are already thinking about clay, which is their biggest goal of the year,” David Goffin said. “I understand their decision.” During his interview, David Goffin pointed out how the flight duration from Dubai to Miami happens to be a whopping 19 hours. The Belgian clarified, however, that he himself wouldn’t pull out since Miami is a Masters 1000 event (and therefore a mandatory one). “A 19-hour flight for just one tournament, it’s complicated,” Goffin said. “But I will play, it’s still a Masters 1000 and you have to go.” Goffin also spoke about the surface speed at the Dubai tournament, claiming that the court conditions were quick and difficult to find control in. “I know now why I didn’t come to Dubai in the past because it’s very tough, it’s so fast, fast to control, it’s not easy for my game, especially when you play Kei,” Goffin said. However, despite the defeat and Goffin’s apparent struggles with the surface, there wasn’t much to separate the two players in terms of match stats. Both recorded almost similar percentage of points won off the first serve and created the same number of breakpoint opportunities. However, it was in the key moments where Nishikori edged out the Belgian.