When the French Open begins on Sunday in Paris, the men’s field will be without the #2 player in the world. England’s Andy Murray withdrew from the field on Tuesday due to a back injury that forced him to pull out of the Italian Open in the middle of a match. The back condition is reportedly chronic for Murray, and he met with various doctors this week before coming to a decision to skip the second Grand Slam tournament of the year.
Murray is the reigning US Open champion after defeating Novak Djokovic in September to claim his first and only grand slam title, but the French Open remains the only tournament in which Murray has not reached the finals. In addition, clay is certainly regarded as his worst surface. He was able to reach the quarterfinals last year (where he fell to David Ferrer), but various reports have Murray turning his focus to the upcoming grass-court season, where he is a much larger threat to compete.
Rafael Nadal enters the French Open as the #3 seed and undisputed favorite to claim his record 8th title in the event. Nadal was able to cruise past Roger Federer in straight sets in last week’s Italian Open (the final tune-up event), and despite the fact that he isn’t the #1 seed (as the aforementioned Djokovic claims that honor), most experts feel that it is Nadal’s tournament to lose on the red clay.
Stay tuned for coverage as the action gets rolling at Roland Garros.