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'Rafael Nadal will definitely be missed,' admits Miami Open tournament director

Rafael Nadal looks back

Miami tournament director James Blake says Rafael Nadal will be a big miss this year, although he understands the decision.

Nadal became the latest big name player to withdraw from the event on Tuesday, citing his back injury and a desire to focus on his clay preparations instead as the principle reasons.

The tournament has also lost Roger Federer, who is concentrating on a 'training block' following injury instead, and world number four Dominic Thiem is also out.

Rafael Nadal hasn't actually played Miami since 2017 when he lost in the final to Federer, but Blake is still disappointed.

“Rafa will definitely be missed at this year’s event, but we understand that a player’s health must remain the number one priority," Blake told the Miami Herald.

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"He has so many fans here in South Florida and brings incredible energy and excitement whenever he takes the court. We hope to have him back in Miami next year.

"The Miami Open team is excited for the opportunity to welcome an incredible roster of leading players and our devoted fans back to Miami next week.”

World number one Novak Djokovic is still expected to play, although much may depend upon how he has recovered from the injury he suffered at the Australian Open.

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