It couldn't last forever it seems, as Andy Murray has decided to call time on his recent clay court purple patch in favour of a period of rest. The Scot made the sensible choice to pull out of the Italian Open before his third round match in Rome. He had been due to play the 24-year-old Belgian player, David Goffin, after coming through in straight sets yesterday against Jeremy Chardy.

Murray to rest

Murray told BBC Sport that his "body needs to rest", following his exertions in recent weeks that have seem him capture back to back titles on clay in Munich and Madrid.

It seems that the ten victories he has accumulated over the last few weeks have eventually caught up with him. That is not unsurprising given the late evening / early morning finishes to one or two of those encounters.

He had looked sprightly enough in his second round tussle with Chardy, demonstrating that his form seems robust enough at present to endure once the body fatigue is relieved. However, the 27-year-old world number three is clearly looking ahead to the challenges to come, with the major target of the French Open just ten days away.

Serena also withdraws

It seems to be the 'in' thing for the top stars to withdraw from the Italian Open, something that the tournament organisers will no doubt be extremely disappointed about.

Murray's news was mirrored by a major withdrawal from the women's singles in Rome, with top seed Serena Williams also deciding that enough was enough. Serena's decision was made because of a troublesome elbow injury. She had been scheduled to play another American in the third round, Christina McHale.

The top stars are well aware of the close proximity of the second Grand Slam of the year and are ultra- careful in the build-up, not wanting to endanger their chances there.

Serena is believed to be likely to recover in time for the start of the French Open though. It means that the title in Rome will pass to someone else this year, as the 33-year-old is the defending champion.

Heather Watson is knocked out

Murray's withdrawal from the Italian Open was not the only bad news for British Tennis fans.

Their women's number one, Heather Watson was knocked out by the highly-fancied Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in the second round. It was a comprehensive reversal for the 22-year-old, as she lost 6-1 6-1, as she struggled to hold on to her serve throughout the one-sided match.