This week the first Masters 1000 of 2021 kicks off, staged in Miami after the postponement of its twin Indian Wells. It was known that flying to the United States for a single tournament would generate some doubts in the minds of tennis players, already tested by the numerous restrictions imposed by the global pandemic. For one reason or another, the second edition of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium had to deal with a large number of forfeits for both men and women. Just to name a few, phenomena of the caliber of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios, Matteo Berrettini and Serena Williams will not be in dispute. Tournament director James Blake had to swallow the bitter pill, sending a message of understanding to anyone who didn’t feel like flying to Florida at such a difficult time. At the same time, guys like Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev will have the chance to show off and win a prestigious trophy. Former British No. 1 Greg Rusedski, who is covering the event at the service of Amazon Prime Video, took stock of the situation.
Rusedski on the 2021 Miami Open
Former British number one Greg Rusedski, who is part of Amazon Prime Video’s coverage of the event, said: “It’s time these guys like (Dominic) Thiem, (Andrey) Rublev, Zverev, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas, (Felix) Auger-Aliassime start saying, ‘No, it’s my turn to win these big events. That’s why Miami’s fascinating, because it’s the first time since 2004 we haven’t had one of the big three in a Masters. What an opportunity to win one, because there’s very few players who’ve won these events. Medvedev and Zverev have done it, but you don’t really have anyone else.” There is also a growing fatigue with coronavirus restrictions that have kept players confined to hotels and tennis courts, prevented their families travelling and meant most events have been played without fans. “It’s not easy but it depends on your mentality,” said Rusedski. “You look at guys like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, they’re super focused. I think the hardest part is probably the quarantine in the hotels.” With the new ATP week rolled in, Federer has now completed 1100 weeks inside the top 100 of the rankings. The Swiss master is 6th in the world at the moment and he will extend his record further. He has the most number of weeks inside the top 100 by a mile.