World No. 13 David Goffin recently gave his thoughts on Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem both pulling out from the upcoming Miami Masters. During the press conference after his first-round loss to Kei Nishikori at the Dubai Open, Goffin remarked that performing well during the European clay season was the biggest goal of the year for both Nadal and 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."
Rafael Nadal took to Twitter on Wednesday to confirm that he had officially withdrawn from the Miami Masters due to an ongoing back injury. The Spaniard's revelation was followed by Dominic Thiem's own withdrawal from the Masters 1000 event; the Austrian stated that he needed to recharge his batteries ahead of the clay season.
For Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, playing Miami might have jeopardized their claycourt preparations
David Goffin's comment highlights exactly where Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem are coming from. Nadal and Thiem, who have featured in multiple Roland Garros finals over the last few years, are currently in a race against time to get ready in time for the clay season.
Playing Miami would have meant very little rest between the hardcourt and clay seasons, given that the Monte Carlo Masters starts just a week after the end of the Florida event.
Aside from that, many players have stressed how difficult it is to go 'bubble-hopping' from one continent to another. Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem might not have been keen on traveling to Miami, staying in a bubble while they were still dealing with physical issues, and then again flying to Monte Carlo for another bubble period.
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.