Usually as we enter in the latter stages of March it is the second instalment of the Sunshine Double but with play temporarily postponed at Indian Wells with hopes of playing later in the year attention turns to Florida, Miami where those who have travelled will like to find their rhythm before heading to play on the clay.
It is an unusual Miami Open to what we usually, not being at Crandon Park still doesn’t make it feel the same and the main attraction at the Hard Rock Stadium the centre court itself will not be in use but fans will be aloud on site.
Who isn’t in Miami?
Due to various reasons there are a fair few withdrawals from Miami this year around whether it is due to injury, scheduling or covid-19, the amount of withdrawals must be a record for the tournament..
Djokovic, Thiem, Federer, Nadal, Wawrinka, Tsonga, Simon, Pella, Ramos-Vinolas, Moutet, Monfils, Millman, Kyrgios, Krajinovic, Gasquet, Edmund, Davidovich-Fokina, Cuevas, Coric, Carreno Busta, Andujar & Ruud (so far…)
Hercog, Hsieh, Kasatkina, Muchova, Pavlyuchenkova, Strycova, Maria Tig, Van Uytvanck, Vekic, Yastremska, Clijsters & Serena Williams.
As this was being written, Serena Williams has also withdrawn due to a tooth problem having had surgery recently and not being able to train.
On both sides there are some 12 wildcards all together including:
Michael Mmoh, Carlos Alcaraz, Jack Draper, Hugo Gaston and former champion Andy Murray.
Anna Kalinskaya, Ana Konjuh, Storm Sanders, Katrina Scott, Mayar Sherif, Wang Xinyu and Wang Xiyu.
Not only do we have wildcards but also players using a protected ranking to play. Kevin Anderson, Andrea Petkovic, Anastasia Potapova, Yaroslava Shvedova and also 37 year old Yen-Hsun Lu.
Yen-Hsun Lu is ranked at 1017 in the world, has played four matches in four years losing all four but picking up over $200,000 and hasn’t won a main draw match on the ATP Tour since October 2017 but since 1978 has won 29 Challenger titles which is a tour record.
Is something going on in Miami?
The whole preparation around Miami just seems unusual, the organisers announced a while ago that they won’t use the Hard Rock Stadium this year due to the “evolving covid-19 situation” which seems bizarre as surely the usage of the main stadium who limit contact with people, is it a cost thing?
Following his week in Acapulco, Stefanos Tsitsipas has hinted all is not well in players’ camps by saying:
“Honestly, I like Miami as a tournament, but I feel, I won’t hide anything from you, I feel it won’t be as good as the previous years, and I feel it won’t be as good as Acapulco this week. I find it very difficult to believe. So I got there with low expectations, not expecting much from the tournament itself. It has other restrictions and it will operate entirely on its own and with a different system.”
“I like playing there but without fans it’s going to be really different and some other things that will be happening, as well, that I heard, I guess that also explains the absence of players. I don’t want to say more and comment more on that, but in a way I’m not surprised.”
This year’s Miami Open will also welcome fans but at a meteoric cost. Average price of a ticket in the early rounds is around $200 and as the week goes on it rises with prices for the final between an astonishing $400-$2000 which is absurd! Tournaments might need to make some money back following last year but don’t out-price the fans!