Tennis

Murray retires with back pain; doubtful for Paris

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ROME (AP)

Updates.By ANDREW DAMPFAP Sports Writer

Andy Murray retired from his second-round match with Spanish opponent Marcel Granollers at the Italian Open on Wednesday with lower back pain and considers himself doubtful for the French Open.

Murray, who was celebrating his 26th birthday, walked off the court after winning the second set to even the match.

''I have an issue with my lower back,'' Murray said. ''It's been an issue for a while.''

Murray took a long injury break early in the second set, getting his left thigh and lower back massaged.

Granollers won the first set 6-3 and Murray won the second 7-6 (5).

This tournament is a key warm-up for the French Open, the year's second Grand Slam, which starts on May 26.

''I would be very surprised if I was playing in Paris,'' Murray said. ''I need to make a plan as to what I do. I'll chat with the guys tonight and make a plan for the next few days then make a decision on Paris after the next five days.

''I want to make sure it goes away,'' Murray added. ''It's been a problem since the end of 2011 but it got bad during last year's clay season.''

Murray called for the trainer while trailing 2-1 in the second set. He then lost the next two games to trail 4-1 before battling back to force a tiebreaker.

''He is a good player and he can do well in Roland Garros and if he has a problem then I can understand he is thinking of Paris,'' Granollers said. ''I think he played better at the end of the second set but he knows his problem.''

The match was played in difficult conditions, with rain drops falling at one point then wind whipping the clay up into the air and players' eyes at other points as the sun also went in and out.

While he is ranked second this week, Murray is seeded third in this tournament.

At last week's Madrid Open, Murray was beaten by Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

Murray's best result in Rome was reaching the semifinals two years ago, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in a third-set tiebreaker.

Murray didn't know if the injury would require surgery.

''I'll try and get home tonight or tomorrow but I also want to see if I can get treatment because sitting on the plane is not perfect,'' Murray said.

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