Rafael Nadal revealed that he was having trouble breathing during his loss to Taylor Fritz in the final at Indian Wells on Sunday.
The World No. 4's incredible winning run in the 2022 season came to an end with his loss to Fritz. The American beat the Spaniard 6-3, 7-6(5) to win his first Masters 1000 crown and become the first American to win the competition since Andre Agassi in 2001.
Rafael Nadal was far from his best during the match as he looked to be suffering from chest problems. The Spaniard was asked about this in his post-match press conference and said that it started just after his semi-final encounter against Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal also mentioned that he felt pain and discomfort when he tried to breathe.
The Spaniard, however, stressed that he didn't want to take anything away from Fritz, who he called a "great player."
"I don't know, honestly, no? It happened yesterday night just at the end of the match last night," Nadal said. "So finishing that late yesterday and playing today in the morning, as you can imagine, I didn't have the chance to do many things, not even a chance to check what's going on there. That's it. All the thing I can say is tough to breathe for me. I don't know, I feel very, very -- when I try to breathe, it's painful and it's very uncomfortable."
"But that's it, no? Is not the moment to talk about that honestly, no? Even if it's obvious that I was not able to do the normal things today... That's it. It's a final. I tried. I lost against a great player. I think it's not the day to talk about what's going on with me. It's his (Fritz's) day. We don't need to hide that in my comments."
"He will have chance to be very close if not in the top 10 very soon" - Rafael Nadal on Taylor Fritz
Rafael Nadal continued his praise for Fritz, who won the biggest title of his career on Sunday. The 35-year-old said that the American has a great chance of breaking into the top 10 "very soon." Fritz is currently ranked No. 20 in the world.
"He played well. He went through some great matches during this week I think, especially yesterday," Nadal said. "A lot of credit to him on the victory of yesterday that, in my opinion, his victory of yesterday is much bigger than his victory of today because he had much tougher opponent in front yesterday than today I think."
"But, yeah, I mean, he already played great matches in Australia, this year if I'm not wrong, against Tsitsipas. It's obvious that he is improving. With this victory, it's a great start of the season for him. He will have chance to be very close if not in the top 10 very soon, no? Going to be a big battle there for these numbers because there are a lot of young and great players fighting for these spots."
Rafael Nadal will skip the Miami Masters but will be back for the claycourt season, starting with the Monte-Carlo Masters in April.