The Miami Open is just days away – and marks another tournament without Andy Murray.
The Scottish tennis star hasn’t played competitively since losing to Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year.
That was disappointing for Murray, but not entirely unexpected given his struggles with the hip injury that’s forced him to sit out the best part of a year.
They were well documented at the time and continued to the point that a long period sitting out before hip surgery in January was required.
And everyone waits to see that impact the surgery has on the former British number one as he works towards a return to the court.
So with no timescale set, the Miami Open will kick off next week without one of the game’s star attractions – and every tournament that passes, his absence will be felt more.
Fans will still get to see a host of top talent, including Roger Federer – who is favourite to win with 888sport.com – Caroline Wozniacki, Marin Cilic, Simona Halep, Grigor Dimitrov, Sloane Stephens, Novak Djokovic and even Brit number one Kyle Edmund.
That’s just scratching the surface of the talent that will be on show in both the men and women’s draw.
But there’s a Murray-shaped hole that the whole of tennis needs to fill. And Miami will simply be a reminder of that grim fact.
In his time at the tournament, he’s won twice and finished second twice – and that’s been the catalyst for most of the world class tennis he’s played over the last 10 years.
Whoever does win the Miami Open will be expected to go on and compete for the Slams this year, with the French Open kicking off in just over two months.
There’s absolutely no doubt that Murray will miss that, but Wimbledon appears a realistic option for the Scot to make his return – ending the most difficult year of his career and the first major injury he’s had to contend with.
Murray has given us three Slam wins, six runners up finishes, two Olympic golds, countless magical moments and some unbelievable tennis.
And when his peers line up to kick off the Miami Open next week, it’ll be sad knowing the Scot will be resting at home instead.
For the sake of tennis and sport in general, the sooner Murray can make his return to the court the better.