Tennis News Wire -
Boris Becker has begun dispensing his usual pre-French Open advice, telling injured Scot Andy Murray to consider pulling out of Roland Garros.
London-based Becker, a six-time winner at the majors, is never short of a thought and does not hesitate to share. He suggest that with Murray dealing with a long-running back niggle, perhaps the No. 3 should consider pulling the plug on Paris to get properly fit for the rest of an intensive tennis season.
"I worry where Andy is physically," Becker told London's 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.
Murray admitted after an early exit in Rome - which followed his non-participation in Madrid the week prior - that he's been managing back pain since December. Reports indicated he showed no sign of distress while losing this week in a pre-French exho tournament to Latvian No. 92 Ernests Gulbis, who has won just six ATP matches this season.
"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," said Becker
"If Murray 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."
Becker believes that the long-draining rallies required on clay would quickly show how fit Murray actually is, with the 44-year-old German calling the clay tougher on the body than hardcourt for that every reason.