Roger Federer is set to make his long-awaited return to professional tennis at the Qatar Open in Doha, which begins on 8 March. But the Swiss maestro has withdrawn from the Miami Masters, which takes place two weeks after the ATP 250 event in Qatar.
Tennis journalist Michal Samulski tweeted the news late on Monday, and he was followed by multiple other outlets reporting the same.
Roger Federer has been missing in action since early 2020. He was last seen on the court at the Australian Open, after which he was forced to have two separate knee operations.
Initially expected to return at this year's Australian Open, Federer changed his plans in January and announced that he would be making his comeback only in Doha. The Swiss legend then also accepted a last-minute wildcard for the ATP 500 tournament in Dubai, which starts on 14 March.
With back-to-back appearances planned in Doha and Dubai, Roger Federer's participation in Miami was always dicey. The 20-time Grand Slam champion would not have wanted to play three tournaments in three weeks this early into his comeback, so his withdrawal from the Miami Masters is not entirely a surprise.
Roger Federer will drop 1000 ranking points with Miami withdrawal
Roger Federer's absence in Miami will lead to a drop of 1000 ranking points, since he was defending champion at the tournament. Federer won the Miami Masters in 2019, and the event wasn't held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 39-year-old has so far retained his status as a top 5 player due to the freeze in the ATP rankings. However, the return of the original system from this mean will mean that Federer could be outside of the top 5 by the end of March.
All eyes will be firmly on Roger Federer when he makes his long-awaited comeback to the tour in Doha. During Federer's absence, his main rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have equaled two of the Swiss' greatest records.
Djokovic has tied Federer's record for most weeks spent at World No. 1, and will overtake the 39-year-old on 8 March. Nadal, meanwhile, equalled Federer's long-standing record of most Grand Slam titles at last year's Roland Garros.
The Swiss maestro has a lot to prove when he takes the court in Qatar next week. He will face a relatively strong field too, with the likes of Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev and Gael Monfils confirmed on the entry list.