Both tennis fans and Roger Federer himself were excited about his return to the court following knee surgery, but everyone will have to wait a bit longer.
Federer has withdrawn from the Miami Open, citing illness and not anything related to his knee. There had been rumors of Federer feeling sick leading up the news. In a statement, Federer said, in part, “I was really excited to have my comeback in Miami but I am in no condition to play. I tried warming up this morning but it was clear that I could not compete.”
It’s a big blow to the tournament and to Federer’s ranking. He wasn’t defending any points in Miami (an event he’s known to skip), but he recently dropped 1100 points by missing out on defending championship points in Dubai and finalist points in Indian Wells. This will make it harder to reclaim the No. 2 ranking from Andy Murray, which he’ll surely want to do by the time the draw for Wimbledon comes around.
Federer’s entry into Miami was something of a surprise, as he’d originally scheduled his return for the clay in Monte Carlo in April. Now he’ll presumably go back to his original plan.
The one beneficiary is Juan Martin del Potro, himself making a comeback from injury. He’s shown encouraging signs thus far in his latest return to tour from wrist surgery and gets a big break here. Instead of facing Federer in the second round (as a seeded player, Federer received a bye in the first round), he’ll play lucky loser Horacio Zeballos.