Greg Rusedski believes the Miami Open is a great chance for the younger players to seize some initiative on the ATP Tour.
Miami will have a very different look and feel to it this year, with the field unusually short of megastar names for such a high-level event.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Dominic Thiem have all withdrawn, leaving the competition wide open and without a clear favourite.
“It’s time these guys like [Andrey] Rublev, (Alexander) Zverev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Felix] Auger-Aliassime start saying, ‘No, it’s my turn to win these big events’,” Amazon Prime analyst Rusedski said.
“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.”
The spate of withdrawals from the Miami Open has been incredibly pronounced, with it being the first Masters for nearly 17 years to not feature at least one of the big three.
Every player to pull out has put it down to a different reason, but Rusedski believes the modern challenges of being on tour during a pandemic can’t be ignored.
“It’s not easy but it depends on your mentality,” said Rusedski.
“You look at guys like Rafa and Novak, they’re super focused. I think the hardest part is probably the quarantine in the hotels.
“It’s difficult for some because they feed off the energy of the crowd. Some players haven’t played at all – Nick Kyrgios, for example, hasn’t played since the Australian Open, so that’s obviously disappointing.
“Then you have someone like Andrey Rublev, who’s been brilliant. He should be three in the world on a 52-week ranking system.
“They are fortunate they can get on tour and play. You have to put the reality of what everybody at home is having to do, what’s happening in the real world.”
You can watch the Miami Open on Amazon Prime video
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?