In a statement, he said: “Sadly, due to a right elbow injury, I won’t be playing in Miami. Apologies to the fans, it’s one of my favourite tournaments. The focus now is on getting ready for the clay season.”
This followed the withdrawal a fortnight ago by current No1 Serena Williams, though her absence from Indian Wells ensures that Angelique Kerber becomes No1 before the Florida-based tournament gets under way.
Williams said: “Sadly, I have to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open. I have not been able to train due to my knees and am disappointed I cannot be there. I will keep moving forward and continue to be positive. I look forward to being back as soon as I can.”
Also reported on Twitter by French journalist Carole Bouchard and Serbian journalist Sasa Ozmo, is the news that defending champion Novak Djokovic is also doubtful for Miami following tests in Los Angeles after his fourth-round loss to Nick Kyrgios at Indian Wells.
He has reportedly returned to Serbia for further tests, also to his right elbow. The Serb has had recurring problems with his arm, missing both Cincinnati and Beijing last year, and after winning in Doha at the start of 2017, he lost in the second round in Australia, and having taken a late entry into Acapulco, lost in the third round to Kyrgios.
Murray’s season was building strongly after a remarkable 2016 during which he won nine tournaments from 13 finals, including Wimbledon, Olympic gold, three Masters titles and the World Tour Finals to reach No1 for the first time.
He made the final in Doha, losing to Djokovic, lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open, but bounced back to win his first Dubai title a fortnight ago. But he then made a surprise second-round exit in Indian Wells to Vasek Pospisil.
The positive side for Murray is that he was defending few points in either Indian Wells or Miami: He was newly back on tour this time last year following paternity leave. In contrast, Djokovic, currently ranked No2, was defending the titles at both Masters.
The only other active former champion in Miami’s men’s draw is two-time winner Roger Federer, who missed the tournament last year with illness. Since the Swiss man’s back-to-back wins in 2005 and 2006, Djokovic has won the title six times, including the last three years, and Murray twice.
In the women’s tournament, Williams has won an unprecedented eight times, while three-time and defending champion, Victoria Azarenka, is also absent following the recent birth of her child. That leaves Agnieszka Radwanska, Svetlana Kuznetsova—who tomorrow contests the Indian Wells title—and three-time champion Venus Williams, as former champions in the women’s draw in Miami.
However, the elder Williams carried heavy leg strapping through much of her Indian Wells campaign, so the tournament will hope that at least one of the Miami-based sisters will make it to Crandon Park.
The women’s draw takes place tomorrow (Sunday), and the men’s draw on Monday.
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