Roger Federer, who last won the Madrid Open in 2012, has withdrawn from the tournament with a back injury.
The 34-year-old said that he sustained the problem during practice last weekend and pulled out as a matter of precaution.
“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.”
“I don’t want to take any more chances,” he added. “I’d rather play it safe.”
The Swiss maestro was returning to action after surgery to repair a knee twist while running a bath for one of his daughters at the end of the Australian Open in Melbourne in early February.
Federer, however, claimed that he would be able to make it back for the Rome Masters next week from 9-15 May, the last major tournament before the French Open.
Meanwhile, both Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal advanced into the third round tournament.
Murray made hard work to prevail against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, dropping the second set before cruising in the third, wining 7-6, 3-6, 6-1.
Stepanek, who is ranked at 148th in the world rankings, made the break in the first game. Still, Murray was able to cancel out his lead to break back in the sixth, fending off a break-point at 5-5 to take the tiebreaker.
Then Stepanek hits out an early break for a 4-1 lead in the next set, holding on to take set and drag the match to a decider. But as the game went on his age started showing, and Murray took his tiring opponent’s serve in the second and fourth games to end the game in two hours and 16 minutes.
Nadal’s win was much more convincing than Andy Murray’s own title defense, as the Spaniard took just an hour and 19 minutes to see off Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov by 6-3, 6-3.
Nadal hits 22 winners and committed just nine unforced errors and broke serve 3 times to cruise for a win.