Rafael Nadal set to skip ATP Masters event, but Netflix Slam match against Carlos Alcaraz gets green light

Shahida Jacobs
Rafael Nadal looks on
Rafael Nadal during a practice session in Brisbane

Rafael Nadal is one of the big names missing from the 2024 Miami Open entry list with the tennis great set to play only one official hard-court ATP event before switching to clay.

There were high hopes that Nadal would play in both Sunshine Doubles events after he signed up for the Indian Wells Open, but the 22-time Grand Slam winner doesn’t feature on the list of entrants for the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami.

The list is headlined by world No 1 Novak Djokovic with the rest of the top 10 Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev, Holger Rune, Hubert Hurkacz, Alex de Minaur and Taylor Fritz also set to compete.

In fact, the top 77 players on the current ATP Rankings are all on the list released by organisers of the Miami Open.

Nadal’s decision isn’t too big a surprise as he hasn’t played in Miami since 2017 although he could still accept a late wildcard and make it part of what is likely to be his final season on the ATP Tour.

However, he indicated in the past that he would rather use his protected ranking to enter events.

The decision not to play in Miami is clearly part of Nadal’s “objective” for the 2024 season as his focus will be on clay and his first tournament is likely to be the Monte Carlo Masters.

“My priority objective is to get to the clay season in the best possible way,” Nadal said in a recent interview with Spain’s El Objetivo. “I hope to be in Indian Wells, it will possibly be the last time I play it and it is a very special tournament for me.”

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal’s 2024 tennis schedule takes shape with tennis great set to focus on clay-court season

After making his comeback at the Brisbane International, Nadal was forced to skip the Australian Open after suffering a fresh injury.

Nadal, though, also warned that he needs to be a lot more flexible when it comes to his schedule these days.

“My plans in recent years have had to deviate greatly from what I would have liked,” he admitted. “That is why we have to be flexible with decisions and try to get it right.”

He is next set to feature in The Netflix Slam against Carlos Alcaraz in Las Vegas on March 3 before heading to California for the Indian Wells Open, which gets underway on March 6.

There had been fears that the exhibition encounter against Alcaraz could be cancelled after the two-time Grand Slam winner picked up an ankle injury during a fall at the Rio Open, but the world No 2 has given the all-clear.

“I have a sprain that will keep me out for a few days! See you in Las Vegas and Indian Wells! 🇺🇸🙌🏻” the reigning Wimbledon champion said on social media.