The 2021 Miami Open: About the venue, high-profile absentees, TV channels, prize money, betting
The Miami Open returns this week after falling victim to the coronavirus last year and we have all the information you need ahead of first ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 events of the year.
When is the 2021 Miami Open?
This year marks the 36th edition of the Miami Open with the tournament running from 22 March until 4 April. The WTA first-round action starts on 23 March and the ATP event gets underway a day later.
The tournament initially went by the name Lipton International Players Championship and over the years it has had many different titles including Lipton Championship, Ericsson Open, NASDAQ-100 Open, Sony Ericsson Open and Sony Open Tennis.
Since 2016 it is officially known as the Miami Open presented by Itaú.
What about the venue for the first ATP Masters 1000 event of 2021?
The first event in 1985 was staged at Delray Beach, Florida, before moving to Boca West for a one-off tournament the following year. From 1987 until 2018, the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne was the venue with the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens taking over the hosting rights in 2019.
Crandon Park had been viewed as being in too bad a state of decay and the modern, big-capacity, glamorous Hard Rock Stadium got the nod.
The 65,000-seater capacity venue is also home to NFL side Miami Dolphins, but only 14,000 seats are used for the tennis in normal circumstances. You can expect the crowd capacity to be well below that during corona times.
About the defending champions…
The tournament was one of the events that fell victim to the coronavirus in 2020 as it was cancelled so the defending champions are from 2019.
In the ATP Masters 1000 final, Roger Federer beat the then defending champion John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to win the title for a fourth time. Federer, though, won’t be back to defend his title as he has opted to focus on his training.
On the WTA 1000 (formerly Premier Mandatory) side, Ashleigh Barty won her then biggest title with a 7–6 (7–1), 6–3 victory in the final over Karolina Pliskova.
Who are absent from this year’s tournament?
The absentee list is quite long as none of the Big Three will play in Florida as both world No 1 Novak Djokovic and world No 3 Rafael Nadal have also decided to skip the event along with Federer.
World No 4 and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem is another player who is missing along with Matteo Berrettini, Nick Kyrgios, Stan Wawrinka, Kyle Edmund, Gael Monfils and Borna Coric.
On the WTA side, eight-time champion Serena Williams is the biggest name missing.
About the former winners…
The big names have dominated the event over the years with Andre Agassi winning six titles and Pete Sampras two between 1990 and 2003. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have ruled the roost since then with former claiming four trophies and the latter winning a record-equalling sixth title in 2016.
Two-time winner Andy Murray and 2018 winner Isner are the only former champions in the 2021 draw.
Interestingly, 20-time Grand Slam winner Nadal has never won the Miami Open.
Steffi Graf (5), Monica Seles (2) and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario dominated during the first decade before Martina Hingis and Venus Williams won five titles between them from 1997 until 2001.
After that it was Serena Williams time as the American won a record eight titles although Victoria Azarenka also managed to pick up three trophies.
Barty, Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta are the former champions in the main draw.
What about the seeds?
With Novak Djokovic absent, world No 2 Daniil Medvedev is the number one seed followed by Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman.
Daniel Evans is the only seeded Brit at No 19 with Cameron Norrie, Andy Murray (wildcard) and Jack Draper (wildcard) also in the main draw.
It’s an impressive top five in the women’s main draw with Barty, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina the headline acts. Other seeds include Aryna Sabalenka, Bianca Andreescu, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza.
Johanna Konta is seeded 17th and the British No 1 is joined in the main draw by Katie Boulter (protected ranking) and Heather Watson.
Prize money on offer
The men’s and women’s champions will each receive a cheque of $300,110 (about £218,000), which is significantly lower than the $1,35m (£980,000) that what Federer and Barty won in 2019.
The runners-up will receive $165,000 (£120,000) and the semi-finalists get $93,000 (£67,000). Players losing in the first round will earn $10,000 (£7,200).
Which TV channels will broadcast the tournament?
Amazon Prime Video is your go-to channel in the United Kingdom.
Dannil Medvedev is favourite with the bookies to win the title as he is 5/2 at Skybet with the in-form Andrey Rublev next best at 9/2. You can get Alexander Zverev at 15/2 at Paddypower.
Man of the moment Aslan Karatsev is a tasty 18/1 at Skybet while Andy Murray is 100/1 at Bet365.
Naomi Osaka is 7/2 at Bet365 to win with Garbine Muguruza 8/1 at Skybet and Ashleigh Barty 9/1 (Bet365) to successfully defend her trophy.
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