Katie Boulter has withdrawn from the French Open a day after her name surprisingly appeared in the draw.
The British number three has not played since Britain’s Fed Cup victory over Kazakhstan last month, where she aggravated a back problem, and had been ruled out of the whole clay season.
Boulter posted a video of herself on social media on Thursday at the National Tennis Centre in London before travelling to Paris and pulling out of the tournament at Roland Garros on Friday morning.
By pulling out on site only two days before the tournament, Boulter was able to collect half the prize money she would have earned for a first-round defeat,
The rule was introduced at the grand slams last year to prevent players taking to the court with no realistic chance of finishing a first-round match just to collect the ever-increasing prize money.
The withdrawn player takes home half the cheque while the other half goes to the lucky loser who takes their place.
An unintended consequence could be players staying in the draw until the last minute even though they have no intention of playing, although Boulter insisted that was not the case in this instance despite her late arrival in Paris.
The 22-year-old wrote on Twitter: “So disappointed to have to pull out of the French Open. I was still hoping to have a chance of competing but doctors have advised me not to take a risk with my back. Can’t wait to get back on court soon.”
Boulter stayed at Roland Garros to support her close friend Katie Swan in her final qualifying match but was keen to avoid talking to journalists.
Swan had posted two impressive wins as she sought a place in the main draw of a grand slam outside of Wimbledon for the first time.
But the 20-year-old was unable to battle to a third win, losing 6-4 7-5 to Slovak Kristina Kucova.
Swan was hampered by a left thigh injury and took a long medical time-out at the end of the first set.
She made a fine start to the second by moving into a 3-0 lead and served for the set at 5-3 but Kucova fought back.
Swan’s defeat means Britain will only have four representatives in the main draw – Johanna Konta, Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans.