Andy Murray believes it is unlikely he will play the French Open at the end of the month after he was forced to retire from his second round match at the ATP Rome Masters.
The world number two bowed out in when injury forced him to retire after two sets against Marcel Granollers. Murray struggled throughout the first set as the Spaniard eased to a 6-3 win, and took an early advantage in the second before Murray sought treatment for his troublesome knock, which has since been specified as a back problem.
The Scot fought back to take the second set on a tie break, but was forced to withdraw before the deciding third, allowing world no. 37 Granollers to progress into the third round.
On his birthday of all days, a downtrodden Murray explained that a back issue has damaged his chances of appearing in Paris.
"I'd be very surprised if I was playing in Paris," Murray said, ESPN report.
"I'll speak with the guys tonight, have a chat with the physio and come up with a plan over the next few days. Obviously I'll make a decision on Paris after the next five days. I'll need to take some days off and see how it settles down. I'll have to see."
Granollers dominated the opening set on the clay of Foro Italico as Murray, who was visibly struggling from an early stage, failed to find any rhythm. The 27-year-old Spaniard raced ahead to take the first set, and grew with confidence in the opener to the second, where he broke Murray again in the thrilling opener that went to ten deuces. Murray called for a medical time out an hour into the contest, trailing at 1-2.
Initially, the break did not seem to have the desired effect on the Scot. After losing ten points in a row, Murray found himself 4-1 down, before showing signs of resurgence. Pacier shots and sheer determination saw him level the set, before wasting a set point opportunity at 6-5.
But despite battling through the tie break to claim a 7-5 win, Murray chose not to risk further aggravation.
In strange circumstances, the only other occasion when Murray opted for mid-match retirement also came on his birthday, when a tendon injury forced him to withdraw from the 2007 Hamburg Masters.