Breaking News: Andy Murray Withdraws from Madrid with Back Injury

Kevin PacelliCorrespondent IMay 4, 2012

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 27:  Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts during his match to Milos Raonic of Canada during their match on day 5 of the ATP 500 World Tour Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell 2012 tennis tournament at the Real Club de Tenis on April 27, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Andy Murray has just announced that he will not be participating in the Madrid Open due to a back injury.

His most recent match was a loss to Canadian Milos Raonic on April 27 in the Barcelona quarterfinals.

According to the Associated Press, Murray has claimed that it is "a big disappointment" to miss out on this event, which, being a Masters tournament, is worth 1,000 points in the rankings.

What does this withdrawal mean for the Scottish fourth-ranked player in the world?

Well, it definitely doesn't help him in preparing for the season's next Grand Slam. Based on his recent play, it seemed that the French Open would be as good of a time as any for Murray to take his first Slam title.

It will be much more difficult now, though, with this injury to weigh him down. Not only does it hurt him physically, but it also shortens his clay season leading up to the Roland Garros campaign.

As far as the tournament itself goes, the draw has opened up significantly. It hasn't been released yet, but any dark horses that would have been in Murray's quarter now have a much clearer path to the semifinals.

This even improves the chances of players outside of that quarter; threats like John Isner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Juan Martin Del Potro will likely only need to defeat one Big Four member en route to the finals, instead of two.

Many potential finalists outside of the Big Four may feel more hopeful now, but one thing is for sure; for Andy Murray, this setback came at a bad time.