Andy Murray has pulled out of the Miami Masters and Novak Djokovic’s participation is doubtful.
World no. 1 Andy Murray announced on Saturday that he was pulling out of the Miami Masters due to a right elbow injury.
The Miami Masters begins on Tuesday 21 March, with the first main-draw matches on the men’s side played on Wednesday 22 and the top 32 seeds – all of whom have first-round byes – playing their first matches on Friday 23 or Saturday 24 March.
Murray, who lost his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters to qualifier Vasek Pospisil, had not been known to be suffering from an injury.
‘Sadly, due to a right elbow injury, I won’t be playing in Miami,’ Murray’s statement read.
‘Apologies to the fans, it’s one of my favourite tournaments. The focus now is on getting ready for the clay season.’
Murray’s probable first tournament on clay would be the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, which begins on 17 April.
It has been a poor season so far for Murray, who ended 2016 on a transcendently high note after winning Olympic gold and a second Wimbledon title and sealing his usurpation of the no. 1 ranking, long held by Djokovic, by winning the ATP World Tour Finals. The British player finished runner-up to Djokovic at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in January and was shocked by Mischa Zverev in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Murray suffered from an attack of shingles, which can often be linked to over-training, after the Australian Open. He won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title a few weeks ago, beating Fernando Verdasco in the final.
Murray has rarely played well at Indian Wells, so an early defeat to Pospisil wasn’t an immense shock although it did represent a huge opportunity squandered with Murray in the top half of an extremely bottom-heavy draw. However, he has traditionally had much more success in Miami, where he won the title in 2009 and 2013 and finished runner-up in 2012 and 2015.
Meanwhile, world no. 2 Novak Djokovic could also be pulling out of the Miami Masters, although no official confirmation has been issued.
Rumours have been reported by journalists on Twitter that Djokovic, who has won the Miami Masters six times, including five of the last six years, could also withdraw from the Florida event.
Djokovic has reportedly flown home to Monaco to consult with doctors about a right elbow injury that hampered him during the Indian Wells Masters. The Serb said he had played his best tennis of the season in the closing stages of a three-set victory over Juan Martin del Potro in the third round, but was defeated by Nick Kyrgios the next day.
There have been hints and rumours that Djokovic has been struggling with one or more injuries in his right arm – variously described as shoulder, arm and elbow – ever since Wimbledon last year, where his shock defeat to Sam Querrey marked the beginning of a downturn in his results following the high of completing his career Grand Slam at the French Open.
Should Djokovic pull out of the Miami Masters as well, the top seed at the tournament will be world no. 3 Stan Wawrinka, who is still in California where he is favoured to reach the final of the Indian Wells Masters – he faces Pablo Carreno Busta in Saturday’s semifinals.
The absence of Murray and Djokovic would mean that the only active Miami Masters champion in the field would be Roger Federer, who won back-to-back titles in 2005-6 but hasn’t reached the final since. Federer is also still in Indian Wells, where he plays Jack Sock in Saturday’s semifinals.
World no. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has also pulled out of the Miami Masters due to the imminent arrival of his first child.
The men’s draw for the Miami Masters will be released on Monday.