Rusedski ruled out by new injury

Greg Rusedski suffered yet another injury setback yesterday as he pulled out of what would have been his first match in almost nine months.

Greg Rusedski suffered yet another injury setback yesterday as he pulled out of what would have been his first match in almost nine months.

Rusedski had been scheduled to face the little-known Spaniard Marc Lopez in the Zagreb Open on the lowly Challenger tour, but the British No 2 pulled out of the first-round match after feeling pain in his fifth and sixth vertebrae during practice.

Rusedski, who has been away from the tour since the US Open last September, said on Radio Five Live: "I was practising on Sunday and I felt my neck and my right side feeling a bit sore. I had some treatment and practised again but unfortunately it just wasn't good enough. I was getting pain when I served and hit my forehand and getting pins and needles down my right side so unfortunately I had to pull out."

The Canadian-born player said he will now concentrate on building up his game and his confidence for the grass-court season, but may yet play in the French Open.

"It's very disappointing but you have to keep your head as high as you can," he said. "To have this happen after having foot surgery and then knee surgery is very hard to swallow. You have to find a way to get through it and stay positive but it gets harder with each injury. I haven't ruled out the French Open yet. I'll wait until I get back to London and see what the doctors say. But I'm definitely going to focus on the grass court season now."

If Rusedski does make it to the start-line in Paris in the last week of May, he will not be joined there by Goran Ivanisevic. The Croat, hampered by a foot injury since March, withdrew from the French Open yesterday and will be replaced in the draw by the veteran Swiss Marc Rosset.

At the Masters series event in Hamburg, the Spaniard Carlos Moya set up a second-round meeting with his teenage compatriot Rafael Nadal after overcoming a spirited challenge from the Australian Scott Draper.

"It will be a special match for both of us, I think," said the second seeded Moya said after his 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win over Draper. "We've never played but know each other well." Moya has been sharing his coach with the 16-year-old and acts as his mentor.

In other matches, the 10th seeded Frenchman, Sébastien Grosjean, earned a second round meeting with Tim Henman by beating Filippo Volandi, of Italy, 6-3, 6-4.

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