On his 26th Birthday, Andy Murray has picked up an injury that could force him to miss the French Open, which is just 11 days away or, in other words, a week on Sunday away.
Earlier today the Briton pulled out of the Rome Masters during his tie with Marcel Granollers, who won the first set 6-3 but Murray fought back to win the second set 7-6 after fighting back from 4-1 down before the match ended due to Murray’s injury.
The inury issues were on on the left-hand side of his lower back. Prior to retiring, he had some on-court treatment to ease the pain after back difficulties severley affected his game against the mostly unforgiving Granollers. At points the 26-year-old looked to have put the pain behind him, making a fantastic comeback in the second set and even in the tie-break, which he did intially fall 5-4 down in before emerging victorious with a second set 7-5 tie-break win.
Read below for exactly what Andy Murray had to say on his concerning fresh injury.
“I had some pain similar today to Madrid. I hit yesterday and played some points hoping it would get a little better. I pulled out today because there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to play tomorrow even if I got through. I would be very surprised if I was playing in Paris. I will talk to my physios and make a plan for the next few days. I will make a decision on Paris after the next five days or so. We will have to see how it settles down, it could be OK. I think the shots that hurt are exaggerated on the clay with the ball coming through slower and bouncing higher. It’s frustrating, it’s not enjoyable when there’s pain and I want to feel 100 per cent.”
This is now the third year in succession that Murray has suffered from back issues at this point of the year, which is played on clay, and which he calls “the most physical of all”. You may recall when his back looked to be in meltdown in a French Open tie with Jarkko Nieminen last year. The Australian Open finalist did acknowledge his past history with back injuries on clay and commit to resolving the issue, which needs to stop if he’s to have any chance of improving his game on his worst surface clay: “I’ll try and get it sorted but its been an issue for some while, so I want to make sure that it’s something that I can sort out. It’s not enjoyable to play now.”
Ironically, six years ago today, on his 20th birthday, he retired from a match in Hamburg, Germany due to a damaged wrist. That is the only other time that world number 2 has retired during a match.
When making his decision I’m sure he’ll have the forthcoming grass court season, in which he’ll compete at Queen’s and the Grand Slam that presents him with huge home expectations, Wimbledon, in mind. The SW19 tournament begins in around five weeks and is an event that surely Murray has a strong chance of winning, after finishing runner-up in 2012, and the French Open is one that he’s got a much more reduced chance of winning, even more so due to the injury. Should he recover and opt to head to Roland Garros then it could, potentially, make his back worse due to its high Grand Slam intensity and physical demands, thus making forcing him into the grass season in poor shape – a time that we often get to see Murray at the top of his game.
His goal is to be fully-prepared for Wimbledon, prioritising that over the French Open, according to his mother Judy.
I’m sure his team, along with Murray, will access the injury and all of this when making a decision, which should give him the best chance of being as fit as possible for whatever his return date turns out to be.
Anyway, many happy returns to Andy and good luck with the recovery.