Andy Murray forced to withdraw from French Open to focus on being fit for Wimbledon



Andy Murray's worst fears were realised tonight when he was forced to withdraw from next week's French Open. After consulting medical specialists and taking advice from his own entourage, the Scot decided not to take the risk of further aggravating the recurrent back injury which saw him retire mid-match for only the second time in his career at last week's Rome Masters.

A factor in Murray's decision was his desire not to jeopardise his chances at Wimbledon, which starts in less than five weeks' time. He will now take the opportunity to rest and have further treatment on his back before concentrating on his preparations for the grass-court season.

"It's a really tough decision and I love playing in Paris, but after seeking medical advice, I am not fit to compete," Murray said tonight. "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 first felt the injury in his lower back at the end of 2011 and needed eight pain-killing injections to play in last year's French Open. Although the treatment helped him enjoy a glorious summer, in which he reached the Wimbledon final, won Olympic gold and claimed his first Grand Slam title at the US Open, the problem never went away completely.

"Obviously the injections can help a bit with pain and they can take some of the inflammation away, but they didn't make me feel 100 per cent – and I want to feel 100 per cent,' Murray said.

Having felt some discomfort in his back in Madrid a fortnight ago, he said after his retirement in Rome that it was unlikely that he would play in Paris. He had one scan at the end of last week and another today before seeking further medical advice.

Murray has always been reluctant to go into details about the injury but says it is exacerbated by playing on clay, which has always been his most difficult surface. Because of the need to generate pace on clay, the extra rotation of the body aggravates the problem.


Get Adobe Flash player


"I think the shots that hurt get exaggerated more on clay," Murray said. "Quicker courts help. The lower bounces, a bit more pace off the surface, that helps. There are a few shots that hurt.'

Pulling out of the French Open, which starts on Sunday, is a major setback for Murray in his quest to become world No 1. Despite his mediocre results in recent weeks, he had actually closed on Novak Djokovic over the last fortnight, thanks to the Serb's own indifferent form. Now Murray is likely to see Roger Federer leapfrog him again and reclaim the No 2 position.

Murray has rarely had the best of luck at the French Open. He struggled with his back during a first-round loss to Gaël Monfils in 2006, injured his ankle against Michael Berrer two years ago and suffered back spasms against Jarkko Nieminen last year.

His withdrawal ends a run of 22 consecutive appearances by the Scot at Grand Slam tournaments. The last one Murray missed was Wimbledon in 2007 after he suffered a wrist injury in May at a clay-court tournament in Hamburg.

In pulling out of Roland Garros, Murray will be hoping that he is fully fit to play at the All England Club next month. Wimbledon, where he reached the final last year and has made the semi-finals or better on his last four visits, offers the Scot a more realistic chance of success than the French Open, where his best performance was a run to the last four two years ago.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments