'Very sorry': Tennis fans stunned by Novak Djokovic announcement

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Novak Djokovic, pictured here with wife Jelena.
Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Miami Open to spend more time with his family. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic has made the shock decision to withdraw from the Miami Open, joining Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in missing the first Masters 1000 event of the year.

The World No.1 will delay his comeback to the ATP Tour following a muscle injury he suffered at the Australian Open, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

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Djokovic sustained a muscle tear that hindered him during his successful title defence at Melbourne Park last month, and the 33-year-old had planned to return a Miami before playing the Monte-Carlo Masters and the ATP 250 Serbia Open.

However Djokovic announced his shock withdrawal on Friday, also citing coronavirus restrictions as a further reason.

"Dear fans, I'm very sorry to announce that this year I won't travel to Miami to compete," Djokovic tweeted on Friday.

"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."

The Miami Open begins on Tuesday, with only 750 fans allowed on the grounds per session. 

Nadal has also decided to skip the March 22-April 4 event to recover from a back injury, while Federer will not be present as he works his way back to full fitness after two knee operations in the past 12 months.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here in action at the Miami Open in 2019.
Novak Djokovic in action at the Miami Open in 2019. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

“This has been a difficult year for everyone," Miami Open tournament director James Blake said in a statement. 

“But especially for players with families.”

Djokovic won his 18th grand slam title at the Australian Open last month. 

The Serb is in his 312th career week at World No.1 and recently broke Federer’s record of 310 total weeks in the top spot.

Fans were left gutted by his shock announcement.

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Nadal and Federer also missing Miami

On Tuesday, Nadal also pulled out of the Miami Open because of the bad back that bothered him during the Australian Open.

"Sad to announce that I won’t be playing in Miami, a city that I love," Nadal wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

"I need to fully recover and get ready for the clay court season in Europe."

The 20-time grand slam champion earlier withdrew from this month's tournament at Rotterdam, before also declining a wildcard to play in Dubai.

Nadal was first troubled by the back issue at the ATP Cup in the lead-up to the Australian Open.

He missed all of Spain's ties in the ATP Cup before reaching the quarter-finals of the Melbourne Park grand slam, where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Federer made his competitive return to tennis in Doha last week, however he won't travel to the United States later this month.

“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,” the 39-year-old's agent Tony Godsick said.

with agencies

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