Andy Murray officially dropped out of the French Open, confirming that he is unable to recover in time from a back injury he suffered in the Italian Open.
Juan Martin del Potro, a quarterfinalist in the French last year, also withdrew from the tournament, which begins Monday, because of a virus.
For Murray, sitting out the French Open marks the first Grand Slam tournament he has missed since Wimbledon in 2007. His back injury, which he said is related to disk problems, flared up during a second-round match last week against Marcel Granollers and he was forced to retire in the second set.
“It’s a really tough decision,” Murray said in a statement. “I love playing in Paris but, after seeking medical advice, I am not fit to compete. Apologies to the organizers and thanks to everyone for the messages of support. My complete focus now is getting back on court as soon as possible.”
Murray, 26, broke through with his first Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open and also won Olympic gold, but he is weakest on clay courts, like Roland Garros.
“It’s not so easy on clay,” Murray’s mother, Judy, told the BBC. “There is a lot more twisting and turning. He needs to be cautious, and I’m sure Wimbledon will be his priority.”
With Murray, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, out, the top seeds for the French Open are likely to be (in order) Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer.