Roger Federer is pulling out of this month’s Miami Open so he can spend extra time getting ready “to work his way back on tour,” his agent told The Associated Press on Monday.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not competed in the competition for more than a year after undergoing two operations to his right knee last season.
Federer, who will turn 40 in August, is due to return to the tour next week at the hard court championships in Doha, Qatar. He posted a picture of himself on Twitter Last Friday with the caption: “Doha’s countdown has begun.”
This will be his first event since reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open in February 2020.
As of now, he is also set to participate in the hard court championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which starts on March 14th.
Federer was also on the entry list for the Masters 1000 in Miami, where he begins playing on March 24.
But his agent, Tony Godsek, wrote on Monday in an email to The Associated Press that Federer would not be playing there.
“After Doha and possibly Dubai, he (Federer) will come back and do a training group to continue working slowly on his way back on a tour,” Godzic wrote.
Miami Open director James Blake did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Federer beat John Isner 6-1 6-4 in the final to win the 2019 Miami Open, the last time he was held. The tournament was one of the dozen canceled last year when the professional tennis tour was suspended for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was Federer’s fourth hard-court title, after the titles he won there in 2005, 2006 and 2017.
Federer is currently ranked fifth in the ATP rankings. He spent a total of 310 weeks at No.1, A ATP record tied by Novak Djokovic on Monday.
Federer’s 103 titles are the second most in the professional era in men’s tennis, after Jimmy Connors who won 109.
Associated Press sports writer Stephen Wayne in Miami contributed to this report.
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