First Federer, and now possibly Nadal, will not play Miami
It’s quite possible that Rafael Nadal will not play in the United States until August in Cincinnati. Federer has already pulled out of Miami and Nadal is still not certain that he will play either Indian Wells or Miami. If you look at the quality of the international players coming over to play the American events, from San Jose to Washington D.C., it is clearly the second-tier of players. You don’t see Djokovic, Del Potro, Gasquet, Ferrer, Dimitrov or Tomic coming over to play here.
So what American fans see are the second-tier players. You’d have to go to Cincinnati, which to me is always a compromised event coming a fortnight before the U.S. Open, or the Open, itself, to see the highest quality of competition. Thank goodness there’s a good player in Canada now, and Milos Raonic plays the events in the U.S.
I remember as a kid seeing Borg, Vilas and all the great players playing events in Florida and California, but this is a different age, one where Federer and Nadal both feel they can skip the top American events without any decline in their popularity.