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Raonic pulls out of French Open with knee injury

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP 1000 - Madrid Open - Madrid, Spain - May 10, 2018 Canada's Milos Raonic in action during his third round match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Sergio Perez

(Reuters) - Milos Raonic has withdrawn from next week’s French Open with a knee injury and is targeting a return during the grasscourt season, the former world number three said on Sunday.

The Canadian has not played since losing to Denis Shapovalov in the round of 16 at the Madrid Open earlier this month and the world number 28 has seen his young compatriot rise two spots above him in the world rankings.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am withdrawing from Roland Garros. I have many great memories there, but I know I need to continue working hard to put myself in the best position when I step out on the court,” Raonic posted on Twitter.

“Thank you all for your support and see you soon on the grass,” the 27-year-old added.

Raonic, a French Open quarter-finalist in 2014, missed the back end of last season with the knee injury and made a first round exit at the Australian Open on his return in January.

He pulled out in the round of 16 at the Monte Carlo Masters in April after a recurrence of the problem, which has hampered his efforts to replicate the form that saw him finish runner-up at Wimbledon in 2016.

The French Open begins on May 27.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney