The upcoming Monte Carlo Masters lost a major protagonist on Wednesday as disheartened Dominic Thiem pulled out of the opening event of the European clay season.

The fourth-ranked Austrian is apparently still troubled by injuries he has carried for weeks – but the 27-year-old will be equally as worried about his slump in form.

Thiem, who is missing this week’s tournament in Miami, now looks like starting his pre-Roland Garros campaign after mid-month at Belgrade.

That tournament organised by the family of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will be played the same week as Barcelona, the Catalan classic which Thiem won at the last edition played in 2019.

Also skipping Monte Carlo – but certainly no surprise – is American John Isner who cannot hide his distaste that most of the tennis calendar is played overseas and not in his once-dominant home country.

Isner will hardly be missed, having played the tournament most recently in 2015 and only once more prior to that edition.

Reluctant Nick Kyrgios is next on the entry list but it is considered highly doubtful that the Aussie would make the effort to leave his locked-down nation to travel to Europe on his least favourite surface.

The No. 51 has never played in the principality


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