Andy Murray may miss French Open to focus on Wimbledon

 

Rome

Andy Murray is back home awaiting a scan on his back following his exit from the Rome Masters, but for some leading characters life here carried on as normal. Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, the world No 1s, motored past their opponents with as much mercy as a Rome taxi driver, while Rafael Nadal stayed on course to win the title for a seventh time despite being pummelled in the first set by Ernests Gulbis.

Following the scan today on his troublesome lower back, which forced his mid-match retirement on Wednesday, Murray will decide within the next few days whether he is fit for the French Open, which begins in nine days' time. Judy Murray, his mother, said he needs to be cautious. "I'm sure Wimbledon will be his priority," she told the BBC.

Murray said that playing on clay had aggravated the problem because it requires more rotation of the body when hitting shots. Britain's Davis Cup tie away to Croatia in September, in which Murray has said he will play, will be on clay, but Leon Smith, the captain, is not concerned about his fellow Scot's availability.

"I think the problem for Andy is the repetition, the effect of playing on clay for several weeks at a stretch," Smith said. "I don't think there will be any problem playing a one-off weekend on clay."

He added: "First and foremost my major concern is that Andy gets his body right. I'm pleased he stopped yesterday. That was the right thing to do."

Meanwhile Djokovic, having trounced Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-4, offered sympathy. "It's a pity if he doesn't play in Paris because he's one of the top players and for sure it would be a loss for the tournament," he said.

Nadal, who will return to No 4 in the world rankings if he wins the title, beat Gulbis 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, but only after the Latvian had gone within one point of becoming the first player for six years to win a set 6-0 on clay against the Spaniard. Nadal has now lost the first set 6-1 on three occasions in his career but went on to win each time.

Gulbis, who beat Roger Federer here three years ago, is blessed with great talent but admits his appetite for hard work has not been all it could have been in the past. The big-hitting Latvian hit some ferocious winners, but Nadal fought back, despite being below his best.

"I was really pumped up at the start," Gulbis said. "I was the better player in the first set and I thought I was still the better player in the second and third sets, but he is a great champion. He did what he had to do to win."

Nadal said that Gulbis might have been the better player if such judgements were made according to who hit the ball hardest, but he considered the better player to be the one who "tries to find solutions against a very difficult opponent". He also criticised Gulbis for questioning too many line calls.

Juan Martin del Potro met the Pope this week and gave his fellow Argentinian one of the rackets he used when beating Federer in the 2009 US Open final. The world No 7 might have to ask for it back after losing 6-4, 7-6 to Benoît Paire.

Williams beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-0, 6-1. The world No 1 has won her last 21 matches, which equals her career-best sequences, set in 2002 and 2003. She is on course for a meeting in the final with Maria Sharapova, who beat Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-1.

Britain's Jonny Marray and Dominic Inglot went out of the doubles, losing to Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna. Colin Fleming, Marray's regular partner, has recovered from a shin problem and will play with him in Dusseldorf next week. Meanwhile Heather Watson, who has not played since March because of glandular fever, will start her comeback at Roland Garros.

Suggested Topics
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing