Andy Murray to miss French Open after opting to sit out entire clay court season
Murray: "The past couple of years, the clay has made issues worse, last year I had some issues at the beginning of the year, the clay didn't help, so I've spoken to my team about that and this year while I feel good and healthy, I don't want to take that risk."
Last Updated: 08/02/22 6:24am
Andy Murray will skip the French Open and the whole of the clay court season as he plots his course through the rest of 2022.
Back in action in Rotterdam next week for the first time since his second-round exit at the Australian Open, the Scot is taking a bigger-picture view of the year ahead.
Murray has been plagued by injury issues since undergoing hip surgery in 2019 but has recently been able to stay on the court, with a strong second half of 2021 raising hopes of a return to contention for titles in 2022.
The 34-year-old's only French Open appearance in the last four years came in 2020, but he has not ruled out returning to Roland Garros in future.
"Right now I am not planning on playing through the clay," Murray said on Sunday.
"The past couple of years, the clay has made issues worse; last year I had some issues at the beginning of the year, the clay didn't help, so I've spoken to my team about that and this year while I feel good and healthy, I don't want to take that risk.
"It's not that I wouldn't potentially play on clay in the future. Last year I almost missed Wimbledon, was close to not playing the grass season, I'm not planning on playing the clay. I will still try to compete a bit during that period, I won't do nothing, that's my plan just now.
"I had a busy end of last year and the next couple of months I won't take any risks and hopefully get a good build up to the grass season."
Looking for a new coach after a trial period with Jan De Witt ended after Melbourne, Murray is in Holland and once again working with Dani Vallverdu.
Vallverdu, who is available while Stan Wawrinka recovers his fitness, will be with Murray in Rotterdam, landing on Sunday, but the Scot knows he will need to look elsewhere to solve his coaching conundrum in the longer term.
"It's not been easy to find someone," he said.
"Obviously, Stan Warwinka has been rehabbing for quite a long time and is hopefully coming back to the tour, but he agreed for Dani to come and work with me for a few weeks over the next month or so which is great for me in the short term, but still trying to find a longer-term solution.
"It's not that straightforward, I'm not as in demand as a few years ago. Ultimately, I want it to be the right person. I'm aware there's no perfect setup, but medium, longer term I want some stability and will try and get that in the next few weeks."
Could Murray play more on grass?
Murray's plan to sit out the clay-court season could enable him to play extra grass-court tournaments ahead of Wimbledon.
During the peak of his career when Murray would usually be involved in the second week at Roland Garros, the Scot's only competitive match practice ahead of Wimbledon would come at Queen's Club, where he is a five-time singles champion.
However, Murray's absence from the clay could see him play the week before the Cinch Championships at Queen's, with tournaments in Stuttgart and 's-Hertogenbosch both taking place.
Depending on his condition, Murray could also opt to play the week after Queen's, with the Eastbourne International running the week before Wimbledon begins, on Monday June 27.