Becker out of French Open

Boris Becker, Wimbledon champion on three occasions, has pulled out of next week's French Open because of a thigh injury. The German said he needed to take a break of at least 10 days because of a muscle problem which requires intensive treatment.

Becker was yesterday forced to pull out of his singles match against the clay-court specialist Sergi Bruguera at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf. David Prinosil was named as his replacement in Germany's round-robin group match against Spain.

Becker had chosen to play in the Dusseldorf tournament for the first time in six years so he could work on his clay-court game. On Monday, the 28-year-old, who has never won a clay court tournament, lost his opening match against the Swiss Marc Rosset in straight sets.

Becker said he had torn a muscle in his right thigh in two places during his match against Rosset. ''I am extremely disappointed. The last six weeks' preparation on clay have been for nothing." Becker said. "I can't do anything for 10 to 14 days... Hopefully I am going to be back for the grass-court season."

Becker was due to begin his build-up to his favourite Grand Slam event in London at the Queen's Club on 10 June. The German said he did not know yet whether he would be fit in time to play.

"You never know," he said. "[Before Wimbledon] I have Queen's and two exhibitions in Roehampton. I have two weeks and I hope it works. I am still optimistic."

Monica Seles saved five match points on her return to competitive tennis yesterday in a 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory over Austria's Barbara Schett at the Madrid Open.

The three-times French Open winner, who won the Australian Open in January but has not played since early February because of injury, said she was glad to get the game over.

"It was a pretty emotional match out there on the red clay, a lot of memories," said Seles who will be competing at the French Open, which starts on Monday.

"Game-wise, it was not one of the highlights of my career but it was good to get it over with and put it behind and move on,'' she said. "It was a step forward again. One of the reasons I wanted to play here is to go through things I have to at the French."

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