The Miami ATP field looks decidedly short on star power as one by one, the biggest names in the sport pull the plug and opt out of flying to COVID hotspot Florida for the event starting next week.
The City which runs to a Latin beat and contains a large, upscale South American population, will have to do without crowd hero Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard withdrew to keep up recovery from his Australian Open back problem.
The 34-year-old has been a frequent absentee, last playing at the 2017 edition where he lost the final to Roger Federer.
But the Swiss icon will also be missing: Federer decided after playing two matches in Doha following his 2020 knee surgeries that he would devote a month more to training in order to prepare for European spring clay.
In addition to his 2019 trophy – the last time the event was played due to the outbreak of COVID, the 39-year-old owns three other Miami titles.
Also missing will be US Open winner Dominic Thiem, whose 2021 has been a disaster.
The Austrian who lost this week as top seed in his opening round in Dubai, is heading back to Europe to regather his game and go to work on the clay.
Thiem has been an infrequent visitor, losing opening matches in his last two appearances in 2017 and 2019.
Other absentees include Switzerland’s three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, French veteran Richard Gasquet and Nick Kyrgios, who has not left locked-down Australia in 13 months since returning last March following a first-round loss in Acapulco.