Roger Federer
Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Mutua Madrid Masters due to a back injuryGetty

Roger Federer has pulled out of the Mutua Madrid Open 2016 owing to the recurrence of a back injury that has plagued him in the past. The World No 3 was scheduled to play on Wednesday (4 May), but announced on Monday (2 May) that he will be withdrawing from the tournament.

The Swiss maestro has had a difficult start to the 2016 season having played in just three events thus far. The Madrid Open was set to be just his second tournament since recovering from a torn meniscus, for which he underwent surgery in February following the Australian Open.

The former World No 1, who is a three-time winner at Madrid, was scheduled for a two-hour practice session on Saturday (30 April), but shortened it to just over an hour due to the injury. According to the official ATP site, Federer skipped practice on Sunday and Monday before announcing his withdrawal.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion is hoping to be fit for the Rome Masters, which begins next week, as it will be his final chance to prepare for the second Grand Slam of the year at Roland Garros.

"Sorry to the tournament for coming and leaving without playing. I arrived and I was okay, and then I practised on Saturday and hurt my back a little bit in practice and then stopped early," Federer said, as quoted by atpworldtour.com

"At this point I don't want to take more chances as I know I'm not going to be fully ready for Wednesday. I'm very disappointed, to say the least. I was hoping to play. This is not really what I wanted to do, come here and do a press conference about pulling out."

"This is normal back things I've had in the past, which I guess is good because I know how to handle it. I know how long it can take. Sometimes it can vary by a few days here or there. It's been a tough year. So I hope it gets better from here," Federer explained.