‘I Tried ‘Til The End,’ Nadal Says Of Fritz, Who He Praises
Rafael Nadal’s ATP Head2Head series versus Taylor Fritz is now 1-1. ATP Tour/Peter Staples
The Spaniard thinks on his first loss of 2022 in the Indian Wells final.
Rafael Nadal made it obvious that his loss in the BNP Paribas Open final was due, above all else, to Taylor Fritz’s performance. However, in his first loss of the 2022 season, the Spaniard confessed that he was hampered by an ailment (20-1).
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“I had pain, honestly. I had problems breathing. I don’t know if it’s something on the rib, I don’t know yet. When I’m breathing, when I’m moving it’s like a needle all the time inside here. I get dizzy a little bit because it’s painful,” Nadal said. “It’s a kind of pain that limits me a lot. It’s not only about pain, I don’t feel very well because [it] affects my breathing.
“[It is] more than [being] sad for the loss, [that is] something that I accepted immediately, and even before the match ended. It’s more about that I am suffering a little bit, honestly.”
Towards the course of his three-set semi-final match against countryman Carlos Alcaraz, the Spaniard showed signs of discomfort. He was visited by an ATP physiotherapist during that match.
“I tried my best. Of course, [it has] not been my day. But that happens. I have experience in all these situations. So in the moment, of course, it’s tough to play a final like this. [I] tried ’til the end. That’s it,” Nadal said. “Even [though] I had my chances in the second set, I didn’t convert too many chances. That’s it. I think it’s a difficult match to analyse personally from my side because I was not able to do many things.”
Nadal later added: “It’s not the moment to talk about that, honestly. 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.”
Nadal only dropped five games to Fritz in the Acapulco final two years ago. The lefty praised the progress that the American has made.
“Victories like today help. He played well. He went through some great matches during this week I think, especially yesterday. A lot of credit to him on the victory of yesterday. In my opinion, his victory of yesterday is much bigger than his victory of today because he had [a] much tougher opponent in front yesterday,” Nadal said. “He already played great matches in Australia, this year if I’m not wrong, against [Stefanos] 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.”
Despite the setback, Nadal has had a fantastic start to the season, with a personal-best 20-match winning run to open the year. In 2022, he has already won three tournaments, including the Australian Open, when he won his 21st Grand Slam trophy.
“Honestly, I wanted to make it perfect before clay. [It] has been very, very, very beautiful. Honestly I am sad because the way I was not able to compete. It’s tough to have these feelings… But in the final it’s very, very ugly,” Nadal said. “But in sport it’s not about talking of the past. We need to talk about today. And today is a difficult day for me.”
Now it’s time for Nadal to focus on the clay-court season. On the surface, the 35-year-old has 62 tour-level titles, and he plans to add more in the coming months.
“I am not [the] kind of person that goes down or goes very high emotionally depending on the moment. I am normally stable, putting everything in perspective,” Nadal said. “Of course, the past two months have have been amazing, unforgettable, very emotional. I enjoyed things that I never thought I could live again a few months ago.
“Now is the moment to try to solve this problem as soon as possible, try to start on clay. Practising starts another part of the season that I enjoy to play. Of course, every single event is so special for me. I hope to be ready for it.”