Novak Djokovic drove a stake into the heart of the hard-luck Miami Masters with his Friday pullout.
The world No. 1 gave a cold shoulder to the massively scaled-down event to be played in a stadium parking lot which once served as one of the crown jewels of the March US hardcourt series when it was held on a nearby tropical island.
The Serb joined fellow Top 10 rivals Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem in pulling the plug on the event.
Instead, all will concentrate on clay preparation for the European season starting within a few weeks.
Djokovic has not played since winning the Australian Open.
The official excuse was injury, though Djokovic also cited the chance to spend time with his family as well as the difficulties in travelling to COVID hotspot Florida.
Djokovic tweeted: “Dear fans, I’m very sorry to announce that this year I won’t travel to Miami to compete.
“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!”
Main photo:- Novak Djokovic celebrates winning in Miami 2016 – ©ATPTour.com