Tennis

Rafael Nadal becomes latest to pull out of Miami Open

Rafael Nadal has become the latest big draw to pull out of the Miami Open, and his absence means that neither of the winners of this year's first Grand Slam event will be in the tournament.

Djokovic, Barty also withdrew this month

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during practice at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament on Thursday in Indian Wells, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill/The Associated Press)

Rafael Nadal has become the latest big draw to pull out of the Miami Open.

Nadal is a five-time finalist at the event but hasn't played in Miami since 2017. His absence means that neither of the winners of this year's first Grand Slam event will be in the tournament; he won the Australian Open for his record-setting 21st major title, and women's champion Ashleigh Barty also withdrew earlier this month.

Nadal's decision came three days after Novak Djokovic announced that he wouldn't be playing at Indian Wells or Miami because he is unvaccinated and can't travel to the United States.

Nadal won the Mexican Open in February for his 91st career title.

"Rafa will certainly be missed. He has so many fans here in South Florida, and we hope to see him back in Miami next year," Miami tournament director James Blake said.

Nadal, who is playing Indian Wells, is currently ranked No. 4 in the world. He was a Miami finalist in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2007 — with all those events taking place at the tournament's former South Florida home on Key Biscayne.

The Miami Open starts March 21.

WATCH | Nadal wins 21st Grand Slam title at Australian Open:

Rafael Nadal wins Australian Open, breaks men's singles Grand Slam title record

10 months ago
Duration 3:02
Rafael Nadal stormed back to defeat Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling five-set contest to capture the Australian Open. His 21st men's singles Grand Slam victory moves Nadal past Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most in history.

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