The Miami open has traditionally been regarded as the fifth Grand Slam. It occupies a late March slot is the last of the huge tournaments before the European clay courts swing. It has been labelled the fifth Grand Slam because of its proximity to Latin America and the throngs of fans of that travel there every year to see Pro level tennis played in Miami. Professional tennis in 2021 is a little different.
This is first big event Masters event of 2021 and sadly the world is still going through this pandemic covid-19. There are limited fans in the stadium and broadcast media is limited. For the 2021 Miami Open tournament, spectators will be allowed access to three show courts, the Grandstand, Court 1 and Butch Bucholz Court. Those courts only have reserved seating and be individually ticketed. So for the players and I suppose the players are able to play but not front of packed houses, which is very very different to what they are used to. Sport in the covid pandemic is different and players are struggling to get used to this. Fans to must get used to masking up at the Miami Open too which can be difficult in such warm and humid conditions.
Big 3 Shock
The tournament has had three high-profile withdrawals within the last few weeks. Roger Federer had been expected to play as too had Rafael Nadal and world number 1 Novak Djokovic. Sadly for varying reasons all decided to give Miami Open 2021 a miss. It is a huge loss to the huge loss to the tournament and to the fans watching at home. . The WTA draw has seen a bigger commitment from all the top players. There are 16 Grand Slam champions in in the in the ladies draw and there’s a stacked field. If anything the ladies tour in 2021 promises to be right up there with the man’s game as there’s so much talent and depth across the board and the game.
Unfortunately a few negative things have caught the eye over the past number of days. Vasek Pospisil co-founder of the PTPA with Novak Djokovic was caught in a 30 second mid-match rant in his first round defeat at the Miami Open. The Canadian mouthed off to the cameras about a 30-minute meeting with one of the ATP bosses. This wasnt the greatest look for a representative of a new player union. This kind of behaviour shouldn’t really be seen by a professional athlete let alone somebody who chooses to represent other players on the tour.
Zverev rankings beef and Shapo claiming poverty
Elsewhere other younger players like Alex Sascha Zverev and Dennis Shapovalov have been creating their own waves and for the wrong reasons. Zverev has some beef with the rankings system. He still won’t give it up that he is ranked 7th in the word despite his performances towards the latter end of last year 2020 in which he reached a grand slam final and and went deep and Masters events. He’s annoyed at the fact that the ATP of switch to a 24-month ruling ranking which means guys like Roger Federer is only played one match in 13 months still is ranked ahead of him.
Shapovalov on the other hand is criticizing the fact that players are not getting paid enough. Shapo criticised the tournament organisers because basically these tournaments cannot afford to the big appearance fees and prize money. Tournaments are seriously restricted due to the lack of fans at the event and as such their of the used to because they don’t get people through the gates because of corporate. Obviously, they have to cut their cloth accordingly and play in the paying the players fees and money tournament winnings is certainly a large part of that mummy. Unfortunately, these tournaments have had to cut prize money but lets remember these players live a privileged existence despite their huge sacrifices that they have to make.
And then as I say we progress into the clay Court season and all roads point to Roland Garros.