World No. 1 Novak Djokovic withdraws from Miami Open on eve of the tournament

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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic withdrew from the Miami Open on the eve of the tournament, one week after being stunned by 123rd-ranked Luca Nardi in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion has not played in Miami since 2019, the last few years because he declined the COVID vaccine and U.S. COVID travel laws did not allow unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens to enter the country. Rules have changed and he was on the tournament entry list, but decided to return to Europe to prepare for the clay court season.

He made his announcement on social media: “Hi Miami! Unfortunately, I won’t be playing at the Miami Open this year. At this stage of my career, I’m balancing my private and professional schedule. I’m sorry that I won’t experience some of the best and most passionate fans in the world. I’m looking forward to competing in Miami in the future!”

Djokovic, 36, has won the Miami tennis tournament six times.

After the surprising loss to Nardi, Djokovic said he played “very, very bad.”

He added: “I’m going to obviously analyze what was done, what could have been done better, and then move on. I do play fewer tournaments, so I’m more selective with my schedule. So, of course it’s not great feeling when you, you know, drop out very early in the tournament…I really wanted to do well. But wasn’t meant to be. We move on.”

The Miami Open will be held from March 17-31 at Hard Rock Stadium. For ticket information, visit miamiopen.com