British number one Andy Murray has withdrawn from next week’s French Open after failing to recover from a back injury picked up at the Rome Masters.
Murray met with medical specialists on Monday and again yesterday to assess whether he would be able to take part in the second grand slam of the year at Roland Garros.
And with the grass-court season and Wimbledon just weeks away, the world number two has elected to err on the side of caution and skip clay-court tennis’ showpiece event.
”After consultation with his team and medical specialists, Andy has reluctantly withdrawn from the French Open and will instead focus on preparation for the grass court season,” a statement released to Press Association Sport read.
Murray added: ”It’s a really tough decision and I love playing in Paris, but after seeking medical advice, I am not fit to compete.
”Apologies to the organisers and thanks to everyone for the messages of support. Now my complete focus is on getting back on the court as soon as possible.”
Murray offered a pessimistic assessment of his back problem after pulling out of his match against Marcel Granollers in Rome last Wednesday, stating he would be ”very surprised” if he made it to Paris.
Murray struggled with the injury during the clay-court season in 2012 and revealed he has experienced pain on and off for the past 18 months.
The Scot had injections before Wimbledon last year that seemed to ease the problem but he revealed it got worse again in Madrid last week and his concerns were heightened by the fact it did not improve with rest.
The French Open begins next Sunday and Murray was keen to avoid aggravating the injury during the Roland Garros fortnight, on the basis that it could jeopardise his plans for the summer.
The 26-year-old reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals last year, losing to David Ferrer, before enjoying a glorious few months, reaching his first Wimbledon final, landing the Olympic gold medal at SW19, and triumphing at the US Open to win his first grand slam.