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.


  • Steve · February 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Seems they all love playing Indian Wells. Large prize money for the winners, a nice chunk of points at stake and players seem to love the location and how they are treated there.

    I think the only reason Nadal would skip this is his knee.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Well, yes, but Nadal is thinking of skipping Indian Wells, too. He’s also playing an exbo event at MSG in NY on March 4th where’s he’s reported to be receiving a $1.5 million appearance fee for a 2-hour match.

    I think Nadal’s popularity in the states will drop dramatically if he starts skipping the spring hardcourt series.


  • Mitch · February 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Unfortunately very few people in the states knows or cares about these tournaments. Do they even get any tv coverage anymore outside of tennis channel and maybe the semis and finals played on ESPN2?

    I remember watching a thrilling Del Potro Nadal match at one of the two tournaments in 2009 on like MSG2 or some other minor channel. The broadcast switched to a hockey pre-game show right as the match was entering a third set tiebreak.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I guess these really are consequences of the lost era of American mens tennis, US sports fans just don’t care to see or pay much to watch Isner or Querrey or Harrison. Pete, Andre, Chang and Courier set the bar very high. Fed and Rafa are so important to the sport but they just aren’t going to play in places like LA, Delray or Memphis or Scottsdale. And when they start skipping such an event as Miami, you know there’s a problem. How could any player skip playing Miami?? I know two fans who are flying in for a week from NJ just to watch it as fans.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 20, 2013 at 8:35 am

    It is a result of Izzie, Q-ball, Harrison being unsexy to watch. There has to be a sexiness or a coolness to pro athletes. McEnroe, Vitas and Connors had it, Agassi had it, even Sampras had it to a degree. Roddick and Blake had it. Fish is cool, too. Now these guys are the definition of unsexy.

    They just don’t carry themselves in a way that makes you want to watch them. There’s no cool factor. These guys don’t capture your imagination. And that might be a result of all these guys coming out of academy backgrounds and not really having personalities. Or it may be a result of the way the game is played today in the states, very little personality or creativity. Donald Young had a chance to be that transcendent player, but he doesn’t have a personality.

    The fans who come out in places like Delray still have a good time, but there’s nobody to really root for if you’re an American and want to see a rising young star.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I’m going to Miami and even if Fed and Nadal are absent, it’s still a superb event. When Johnny Mac was at his popularity heights he often skipped big tournaments didn’t he? The show will go on. There are many players I still want to see and study up close – Dolgo, Djok, Tomic, Jerzy, Gasquet, Stephens, Raonic, Murray, Dimitrov, Serena, Vika, Steve Johnson, Almagro, Paes and Step, MOnfils, the list goes on and on. I kinda like the idea of seeing possibly some surprise names make the SF on the mens side. Perhaps this will hasten the ascent of the next wave of young guns.

  • Dan markowitz · February 20, 2013 at 11:41 am

    You make a good point, Scoop, there are plenty of ayers out there still interesting to watch. But think of the excitement Agassi engendered when he burst on the scene. I remember watching Blake play doubles with his brother at the Open when he was 18 and that was exciting. Fish had his hair dyed a crazy blond color as he and ARod turned pro. These guys were exciting to watch and follow their ascent. Dent, too. Now guys like Iz and Q, personality-wise there’s little interest. I’d say Sock and Williams are the only young men who seem like they have a little of that X factor. We want our star tennis players to be cool, counter cultural, it highlights the individuality of the game.

  • Steve · February 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I think Harrison has something. His urge to be great comes through on the court. I like the way when he loses to a top player he looks them in the eye when he shakes hands in kind of a “I’m going to get you evenutally” way –it’s kind of crass HAHAHA It’s not a marketable vibe but you see how badly he wants to be great and there seems to be cockiness there which Scoop may admire. :-)

    I’ve watched Bradley Klahn hang in some tough, close matches. That and his service motion won me over.

    I was never a fan of old school Agassi, Blake or Mac “too much mustard on their hotdog” but they have won me over as they got older. Give me truly interesting players: Goran & Dolgo! –you never really know what those players will do.

  • Steve · February 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I may have to crack open my tennis encyclopedia but I imagine the times Americans dominated tennis are tantamount to a blip when looking at the full history of the sport. We just got lucky there for a while.

  • bjk · February 20, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I wonder if they might switch Miami to clay and have it start the clay season. Clearly Nadal thinks that clay should get another Masters, and it would basically be the US clay court championships. Miami is already a South American tournament anyway (Nadal got more fans than Roddick), although that would leave Memphis and Indian wells as a pretty short US hard court season (is the LA tournament moving to San Jose or something like that?)

  • Steve · February 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    “I wonder if they might switch Miami to clay and have it start the clay season.”
    bjk that’s a great idea but Davydenko might be bummed.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 20, 2013 at 10:37 pm


    The USA dominating tennis was not just a “blip” in tennis history. The best player in the 20’s was Tilden. The best player in the 30’s and 40’s was Budge. The best players in the 70s and 80s were Connors and McEnroe, along with Borg, Lendl, Becker, Wilander and Edberg. The best players in the 90’s were Sampras and Agassi.

    That’s domination.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Ladies and Gents,

    We have our next American superstar. He’s Jack Sock who beat Milos “everything thinks I’ll win a slam” Raonic in Memphis, 7-5 in the third. Doesn’t matter Raonic is coming off winning San Jose. Hail Jack Sock!

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Sock has shown some major potential, winning US Open juniors vs. Kudla, US Open mixed doubles with Oudin, winning matches at the US Open vs. Mayer, Cipolla, and now this enormous victory over the red hot Raonic. On the flipside Sock has had his share of dismal defeats in smaller events and challengers. It seems he’s a big match, center court prime time type of player who has trouble getting fully inspired for smaller matches. It was like Jesse Witten after he almost beat Djokovic at US Open, he couldn’t maintain that form in challengers and we’ve never seen him since. But this kind of win for Sock can really catapult his career. Let’s see how he follows up on it.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 21, 2013 at 9:52 am


    You ever see Sock play in person? I have not. I did talk to him after he won his first round match at Newport last year and I came away liking him.

    Obviously, you can’t compare Sock to Witten because Jesse had his breakthrough at around 25 while Sock is only 20. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to play better in big matches. Looking forward to seeing Sock in Delray.

  • Steve · February 21, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Dan, he’s a Grand Slam champion.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Seen Sock several times Dan, last time live was at US Open vs. Cipolla on the new court 17. Sock has a big game, he’s a big guy, big forehand, serve, can scoot around the court. USTA and Patrick McEnroe have been high on him for a while. The year he won US Open juniors I ran into Patrick in the second week scouting the outer courts and the first name he asked me about was if I’d seen Sock yet. Sock is gonna knock your you know what’s off Dan, you’ll see.

  • Dan markowitz · February 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Russell is impressive. At 35, he’s showing more upside than Harry. Kubot beats Harry in 3 sets and then Russell routines the Pole. Iron Mike is playing better at 35 than any American player since Andre. Look at Blake and Ginepri, far better players than Russell in their primes, but now Russell’s far better than them. I’d like to know how that happened.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    35 is the new 22 Dan ) DY beat Russell in qualies recently.



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