• ATP Tour

Becker: Murray should withdraw from French Open

ESPN staff
May 24, 2012
Andy Murray's back has been cause for concern © Getty Images

Six-time grand slam winner Boris Becker has urged Andy Murray to pull out of next week's French Open if his injured back continues to cause him pain.

Earlier this month, Murray revealed he has been battling a back complaint since December. Following Murray's recent withdrawal from the Madrid Open and his early exit at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Becker suggested the Brit rest ahead of Wimbledon.

"I worry where Andy is physically," Becker told the Telegraph. "Back pain is a disaster on clay. On any other surface you can handle it because you can finish matches quickly, but on clay you have to be ready to play for two or three hours every day. We saw that Andy couldn't handle that in Rome.

"I'm not a doctor, but if he's not fit, the question must be 'Why play at all?' Nobody can win seven matches over the next fortnight without being in decent physical condition, not even Rafael Nadal. So if he has no realistic chance of winning a grand slam title in Paris, why not get some rest? Have a physical break ahead of the grass-court season. With Wimbledon and the Olympics coming up, that is two big reasons for Andy to think about his long-term health."

Like Becker, Murray's best result at Roland Garros thus far is to reach the semi-final stage. Murray is no doubt desperate to go one step further than his 2011 feat as he aims to win his maiden grand slam title, but Becker believes he should be looking at the long-term effects.

"Hard courts might seem less forgiving," Becker says, "but at least you don't have to rally as much. On clay there is no escape."

Murray is set to take on Ernests Gulbis in a practice match in Paris on Thursday. A gruelling schedule that includes the French Open, the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club and Wimbledon over the next six weeks then awaits him.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.