World no. 1 Novak Djokovic will not compete at this year’s Miami Masters! Despite the efforts of Novak himself and the tournament organizers, the Serb is still not allowed to enter the USA due to his vaccination status. The Miami Open tournament director James Blake shared the bad news on Friday, saying they did everything to bring Novak to Miami, although their efforts were in vain.
Thus, Djokovic will skip both Masters 1000 events at the start of the season, returning to action in Monte Carlo in April. Novak requested an exemption from the rule prohibiting not permanent USA residents from entering the country if they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Homeland security rejected Djokovic’s request, and the Serb took a break following the Dubai Open semi-final loss. Novak is a six-time Miami Open champion, winning the first title in Florida in 2007 and dominating until 2016.
The Serb had only two Miami campaigns after 2016, with early exits in 2018 and 2019. Four years ago, Novak fell to Roberto Bautista Agut 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and 29 minutes in the fourth round.
Roberto toppled Novak in the semi-final of Doha in the season’s first week and repeated in Miami despite after a terrible start. The Spaniard dropped the opening set in just over 30 minutes and saved a break point at 5-5 in the second.
A rain delay helped the Spanish player to shake off the pressure and return stronger. He overpowered Novak with flat and aggressive shots and advanced into the quarter-final. Bautista Agut won one point more than Djokovic, fending off nine out of 13 break points and converting four out of seven chances.
He matched Novak’s pace in sets two and three and crossed the finish line first. They had a similar number of winners and unforced errors, and Bautista Agut forged a slim advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes.
He also had the upper hand in the most extended ones to emerge at the top, overpowering a great rival in the decider. Djokovic will not seek his first Miami title in seven years, although he would have been the favorite after a great start to the season.
The Serb claimed titles in Adelaide and the Australian Open, regaining the ATP throne and joining Rafael Nadal on 22 Major trophies.
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