Rafael Nadal reveals ‘worrying’ breathing difficulties after Indian Wells defeat


Rafael Nadal was beaten by Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final (Picture: Getty)

Rafael Nadal says he suffered from ‘worrying’ breathing difficulties during his straight-sets defeat by Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final.

Nadal, who became the most successful male tennis player in history when he won the Australian Open in January, suffered a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) defeat to American Fritz.

The Spaniard left the court for treatment at 4-0 down in the first set and said afterwards he was experiencing difficulties breathing.

‘It’s tough for me to breathe. When I try to breathe, it’s painful and it’s very uncomfortable,’ Nadal said.

‘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.

‘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.

‘Honestly I am sad because of the way I was not able to compete. The thing that worries me now, it’s about what’s going on there, what I have to do now to recover and how long it’s going to take.’

Nadal's 20-match winning run was ended by American star Fritz

Nadal’s 20-match winning run was ended by American star Fritz (Picture: Getty)

Nadal won his second Australian Open earlier this year to go with his 19 combined wins at the French Open, US Open and Wimbledon.

But the 35-year-old made 34 unforced errors in the match as Fritz became the first American to lift the title at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001.

An ecstatic Fritz said: ‘I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculous it is to play, how I could play today, I’ve never experienced worse pain like I did before the match.

‘I took a couple of steps and screamed. I was trying to act tough and we did a lot of work leading up to the match.

‘I was really upset, basically almost crying because I thought I was going to have to pull out.

‘I went through a rollercoaster of emotion and all of a sudden being really happy thinking maybe I can play, but it didn’t affect me at all.

‘This is one of those childhood dreams you never even think will come true.’

Nadal, who has moved ahead of his great rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on 21 Grand Slam wins, will defend his French Open title at Roland-Garros in May.

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