Roger Federer has opted to skip next week's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to spend time with his family, tournament director Salah Tahlak has confirmed.
The 36-year-old had until 12pm EST [5pm GMT] to declare his intention to accept a wild card at the event which he has won seven times.
But Tahlak has revealed that Federer will miss the tournament for the first time since 2010 to be with his wife Mirka and their two sets of twins and prepare for the defence of his Indian Wells and Miami Open titles.
"I have been in touch with his agent and the last time we spoke he informed me that Federer would rather spend some quality time at home with his wife and kids than make the trip to Dubai," Tahlak told Gulf News.
"He also said that this decision from the world No.1 has nothing to do with Dubai, but it's simply because he doesn't want to take any chances during the build-up to his defence of the two titles in Indian Wells and Miami.
"In fact he has conveyed his willingness to come and play in Dubai next year. As tournament owners and organisers we totally respect the wishes of the player even though he has made Dubai his second home while also winning a record seven titles at our tournament. We are convinced that he will return here next year."
Last week, Federer surprisingly accepted a wild card to play the Rotterdam Open where he became the oldest world number one in tennis history – throwing into major doubt his participation in Dubai, an event which starts on Monday [26 February].
The 20-time grand slam champion has attributed his recent revival – he has won three of the last five majors – down to how he manages his schedule, making an appearance in the United Arab Emirates unlikely once he had confirmed his intention to play in Rotterdam.
World number five Grigor Dimitrov will start the event as the top seed, though Lucas Pouille is the only other player from the top 20 scheduled to compete.
Rafael Nadal will therefore have the chance to eat into Federer's 345-point advantage at the top of the men's rankings at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, though he must win the event if he is to close the gap ahead of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami in March.
Federer was knocked out in the second round in Dubai last year and will see the 45 points he earned from that performance removed next week but it is not enough to allow Nadal to return to world number one even if he wins in Mexico.