Andy Murray’s impressive run on clay ended abruptly on Thursday when he pulled out of the Italian Open, citing fatigue.
The world number three had made it 10 wins in a row on Wednesday with a straight-sets victory over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy that put him into the quarter-finals in Rome.
That followed his first back-to-back ATP Tour titles on clay in Munich and Madrid, where he gained an impressive victory over Rafael Nadal on Sunday which hinted at a strong run in the forthcoming French Open.
The two-time Slam winner was due to play Belgium’s David Goffin for a place in the last four but announced before the scheduled start that he was withdrawing due to fatigue.
“I felt tired this morning,” Murray said on the Sky Sports website. “I practised 40 minutes and felt pretty exhausted.
“It didn’t make sense for me to keep going because when you feel like this it becomes a risk to play.
“I’m going to take a few days’ rest, not go on the court. We had a proper conversation, weighing up all the pros and cons, but I’m very tired just now and need to take a break.
“There’s no long-term injuries to worry about. Things are a little bit stiff and sore because of the amount of matches I’ve played.
“It wasn’t just about today’s match. It was about the rest of the tournament... and further down the line the possibility of getting sick and missing five, six or seven days.”
Murray, who only confirmed his participation in the Italian Open on Sunday, went into the clay-court season on the back of just a week’s practice in Barcelona and admitted on Wednesday that his recent schedule was beginning to take its toll, saying: “My legs were a bit tired at the beginning.”
The French Open starts in Paris on May 24.