Madrid Open: Former champion Roger Federer withdraws with back injury

Roger Federer
Roger Federer will become number two in the world if Andy Murray is unable to retain his Madrid title

Roger Federer has withdrawn from this week's Madrid Open tournament because of a back injury.

Federer, 34, said he had sustained the problem during practice on Saturday and had pulled out as a precaution.

The world number three hopes to play in the Masters event in Rome from 9-15 May, the last major tournament before the French Open.

Federer, Madrid champion in 2012, returned to action in Monte Carlo in April following knee surgery.

"I arrived and I was OK," said Federer. "Then I practiced on Saturday and hurt my back a little bit and stopped early. I was supposed to practice for two hours - I had to stop after an hour and 15 minutes.

"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 would rather play it safe and rest up now and get ready for Rome."

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