Cautious Murray pulls out of Barcelona Open

Andy Murray has heeded medical advice and pulled out of this week's Barcelona Open to rest his injured right elbow.

The world No 4 took the decision yesterday after practising for the first time since his semi-final defeat to Rafael Nadal at last week's Monte Carlo Masters, when he was able to play only after having a cortisone injection. Murray said he would rest for four or five days before resuming practice at the start of next week.

His next tournament, the Madrid Masters, begins the weekend after Easter, which will give him a fortnight in which to recover.

Although Murray will have been disappointed not to build on the return to form he showed in Monte Carlo, his decision is surely a sensible one.

The injury could not have come at a busier time of year for the 23-year-old Scot. After playing only three matches between the Australian Open at the end of January and the start of last week's tournament, Murray had been preparing for a 13-week run in which he would have expected to spend only three weeks not in competition.

Madrid is followed by another Masters Series tournament in Rome, the French Open, the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club, Wimbledon, and, provided he makes himself available, Britain's Davis Cup tie against Luxembourg in Glasgow.

Murray is the second top-10 player to withdraw from Barcelona, Tomas Berdych having pulled out with a stomach problem.

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