Taylor Fritz brought an end to Rafael Nadal’s unbeaten start to the 2022 season after beating the Spaniard in the final of the BNP Paribas Masters on Sunday. The American claimed the Masters 1000 title, but Nadal admitted after that he was struggling with breathing problems during the match.
The 2022 Australian Open champion was the favourite to claim his fourth title of the year going into the summit clash, but came away second best after going down in straight sets. Nadal revealed that he was struggling with a stinging pain in his chest which was affecting his breathing during the game.
“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, as quoted on the ATP website. “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.”
The 35-year-old, former world number one admitted that he was hoping to remain unbeaten going into the clay court swing of the season. Nadal was disappointed not to be able to compete at his best in the final, but had accepted his fate following his physical struggles during the match.
The 21-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion, however, was grateful for the last three months. Nadal won the Melbourne Summer Set and Australian Open in January before claiming the title in Acapulco last month. Just a few months back, Nadal was unsure about his future in the game as he struggled with a recurring foot injury.
“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 added.
“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.”