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Djokovic joins Nadal, Federer in skipping Miami

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MIAMI – World number one Novak Djokovic said he won’t be playing at the ATP Miami Open, joining fellow Grand Slam legends Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in skipping next week’s event.

The 33-year-old Serbian star won his 18th Grand Slam singles crown and ninth Australian Open singles title last month.

That puts him third on the all-time men’s list behind the 20 Slam titles owned by Swiss star Federer and Spaniard Nadal, who will try to defend his French Open title in the next Slam showdown on the red clay of Roland Garros.

READ: Djokovic sets all-time record for weeks at world No. 1

“Dear fans, I’m very sorry to announce that this year I won’t travel to Miami to compete,” Djokovic tweeted Friday.

Djokovic, a six-time Miami champion, cited the global travel issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and his desire to balance events and family life.

“I decided to use this precious time at home to stay with my family,” he said. “With all restrictions, I need to find balance in my time on tour and at home. I look forward to coming back next year!”

READ: Nadal withdraws from Miami to prepare for European clay

Federer won the most recent Miami Open title in 2019, his fourth career trophy at the event, with the tournament being called off last year due to the outbreak of the deadly virus. He wanted to work on his fitness ahead of the other majors later this season.

Nadal, a 34-year-old left-hander, has not played since being ousted from last month’s Australian Open quarter-finals by Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“Sad to announce that I won’t be playing in Miami, a city that I love,” Nadal tweeted earlier this month. “I need to fully recover and get ready for the clay court season in Europe.”

Nadal seeks a fifth consecutive French Open title and 14th career crown at Roland Garros. He has never won the Miami crown, dropping five finals.

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