Roger Federer's agent has confirmed the 20-time grand slam champion will not play at this month's Miami Open - the year's first ATP Masters 1000 event.
The Swiss legend hasn't played in more than a year after having two operations on his right knee last season.
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The 39-year-old will make his competitive return to tennis at this week's hard-court event in Doha, however he won't travel to the United States later this month.
Federer had been on the entry list for the Masters 1000 event in Miami, where play starts on March 24.
But Federer's agent Tony Godsick told The Associated Press on Monday that he's withdrawing from the Miami event so he can spend extra time preparing to “work his way back out on tour."
“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,” Godsick wrote in an email.
Miami Open tournament director James Blake did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Federer posted a photo of himself on Twitter last Friday with the caption: “The countdown to Doha begins.”
The hard-court event in Qatar will be his first since the semi-finals at the Australian Open in February 2020.
As of now, he is also slated to participate in the hard-court tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which begins on March 14.
Federer beat John Isner 6-1, 6-4 in the final to win the Miami Open in 2019, the last time it was held.
The tournament was one of dozens that were called off last year when the professional tennis tours went on hiatus for several months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That was Federer’s fourth title at the hard-court event, following trophies he collected there in 2005, 2006 and 2017.
His latest withdrawal left tennis fans disappointed.
Djokovic equals Federer's World No.1 record
Federer is currently No.5 in the ATP rankings. He has spent a total of 310 weeks at No.1, a men's record tied by Novak Djokovic on Monday.
Federer’s 103 tour-level titles are the second-most in the professional era of men’s tennis, trailing only Jimmy Connors, who won 109.
Djokovic's ninth Australian Open title last month guaranteed that he will surpass Federer's record on March 8.
After reaching another milestone in his illustrious career, Djokovic may now look to adjust his schedule and make it his top priority to overhaul Federer and Rafa Nadal's joint-record of 20 grand slam titles.
"Now, after achieving the historic number one for the longest weeks at No.1, it's going to be a relief for me because I'm going to focus all my attention on slams mostly," the Serb had said after his title triumph in Melbourne.
Djokovic said when going for the No.1 ranking, a player must compete for the entire season and play well at all tournaments, but now he could think differently.
"My goals will adapt and will shift a little bit, which means that I will have to adjust also my calendar - not have to, but I will have an opportunity to do that," he said.
"As a father and a husband I'm really looking forward to that."
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