By Daniel Perissé
What is reserved for Men’s tennis in the next years? The 2021 Miami Open presented by Itaú is a great chance to get a taste of that. Without any of the so-called “Big 3” – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic –, it’s an open race to the singles title at Hard Rock Stadium, with some great contenders up for it.
This is the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament without Federer, Nadal or Djokovic since 2004, in Paris. They all withdrew from the South Florida Masters 1000 to get some rest and better prepare for the clay court season. Another important absence is 2020 US Open Dominic Thiem, one of the stars of the next generation.
Back in 2004, Marat Safin took advantage of that and was crowned champion of the Masters 1000 in Paris. And another Russian shows up as the favorite in Miami: Daniil Medvedev. The Russian recently became World No. 2, the best performance of his career, and started this season on a high note, which includes reaching the Australian Open final and winning in Marseille, France.
The second seed in the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas. A doubles finalist at Hard Rock Stadium in 2019, the Greek comes from losing the Acapulco title to Alexander Zverev, and is looking for his first Masters 1000 title.
A three-time Masters winner, Zverev is highly motivated after his run in Acapulco and will try to win in Miami for the first time – the German lost the 2018 final to John Isner. Other young players to watch are Russia’s Andrey Rublev, who already won a title this year in Rotterdam, and Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who is still seeking a 1000-level title.
On the other hand, former World No. 1 Andy Murray was granted a wild card. The Scottish player has won twice in Miami, in 2009 and 2013. He has a tough first round match against South African Lloyd Harris, who recently was a finalist in Dubai.
The other top seeds in Miami are Buenos Aires champion Diego Schwartzman, from Argentina; Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut; David Goffin, from Belgium; Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov; and Italian Fabio Fognini.
The Miami Open Men’s Singles draw matches start on Wednesday, March 24th, at Hard Rock Stadium.