Andy Murray will miss the French Open with the back injury that flared up at the Rome Masters, the world No. 2 announced on Tuesday.
After meeting with medical specialists, Murray has decided to skip the second Grand Slam of the year at Roland Garros to ensure he is fully fit for Wimbledon.
“It’s a really tough decision and I love playing in Paris, but after seeking medical advice, I am not fit to compete,” the US Open and Olympic champion explained in a statement to Britain’s Press Association.
“After consultation with his team and medical specialists, Andy has reluctantly withdrawn from the French Open and will instead focus on preparation for the grass-court season,” the statement added.
Murray had raised the possibility of his absence from the French Open after retiring with the back problem in his second-round match against Spain’s Marcel Granollers at the Rome Masters last week.
“I’d be very surprised if I was playing in Paris,” a subdued Murray said then.
This will be the first Grand Slam he has missed since Wimbledon in 2007.
The injury was the same one which required him to take a pain-killing injection in order to play Roland Garros last year, where he reached the quarter-finals.
Murray will now aim to return for the start of the grass-court season at Queens Club on June 10.
“[The back] has not been perfect for a long period, I want it to start feeling good again. Everyone goes into matches with niggles, but this is very frustrating,” Murray said after his Rome retirement.
“I don’t want to go into details, but I’ve got a disc problem, it changes week to week. It’s been an issue for a while, but I want to make sure it goes away. I don’t want to be playing with it long-term, it’s not enjoyable at all,” he added.
The French Open begins on Sunday.
AP, NICE, France
Sixth-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy rallied past Marco Cecchinato 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday in an all-Italian match in the first round at the Nice Open.
Fognini won only three points on his opponent’s serve in the first set, but broke twice in the second set and three times in the third. He is to face French wild-card Gael Monfils, who came from behind to beat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine defeated Brazilian qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-2, 6-3, breaking serve four times. He is to play the US’ third-seeded Sam Querrey next.
Paul-Henri Mathieu of France also advanced, downing the US’ Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-4.
Guillaume Rufin progressed with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi. He is to meet the second-seeded Gilles Simon in an all-French match.
POWER HORSE CUP
AP, DUESSELDORF, Germany
Eighth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko lost his fourth straight match on Tuesday, falling 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to “lucky loser” Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia in the first round of the Power Horse Cup.
Bedene replaced Dmitry Tursunov of Russia in the main draw and needed less than two hours to add to Davydenko’s opening-round losses in Munich, Madrid and Rome.
Seventh-seeded Viktor Troicki defeated Michael Russell of the US 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The Serb is to play Grega Zemlja of Slovenia, who saved 13 of 15 breakpoints to beat David Goffin of Belgium 5-7, 6-0, 6-2.
Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands defeated Kazakh qualifier Evgeny Korolev 6-2, 6-4, serving 15 aces in his first clay-court match of the season. He is to meet Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.