The Miami Open will go another year without Roger Federer.
World No. 3 Federer withdrew from Friday from his scheduled opening match against Juan Martin del Potro because of a stomach virus. He will be replaced in the Miami Open by lucky loser Horacio Zeballos of Argentina.
“I am very sorry that I have to pull out of the Miami Open with a stomach virus,’’ Federer said in a written statement distributed by the tournament. “I feel bad for the tournament and the fans as I have rarely ever had to withdraw at such short notice. I have not felt great for a few days and unfortunately it got worse in the last 24 hours.
“I was really excited to have my comeback in Miami but I am in no condition to play. I tried to warm up this morning but it was clear that I could not compete.’’
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Federer, 34, would have played in his first match following arthroscopic knee surgery Feb. 3 to repair a torn meniscus. He did not play at the Miami Open last year to concentrate on the clay season.
“I’m excited,’’ the Swiss superstar said at a news conference Thursday. “Anxious to find out how [the knee] is going to react, how is it going to feel after the match and so forth. I’m just really pleased that I’m here. Couldn’t be more happy how rehab has gone.’’
Federer did say that the health of his knee was paramount.
“If I feel something [Friday], I won’t play. It’s very simple. Expectations are really low, which is nice for a change.’’
Miami Open director Adam Barrett called Federer “a true legend of the game,’’ in the written release. “We look forward to seeing him here next year.’’