Nadal ‘worried’ after struggling to breathe and doesn’t know when he will return

Rafael Nadal said he was struggling to breathe following the injury he suffered at the Indian Wells Masters. The Spaniard’s 2022 unbeaten streak was broken by Taylor Fritz in the final, succumbing 6-3, 7-6(5).

The 24-year-old became the first American to win the title since Andre Agassi in 2001. Nadal, who had to really battle throughout his campaign in the Californian desert, seemed to tweak a pectoral muscle in his semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz.

It began to cause him issues in the final as he was dominated by Fritz in the first set. After a lengthy medical timeout at the end of the set, Nadal returned reinvigorated and battled through the pain, but was unable to turn the tables and suffered defeat in a final for the first time in three years.

Afterwards, the 35-year-old spoke about the discomfort he was feeling which also caused him respiratory issues. "It's tough for me to breathe. When I try to breathe, it's painful and it's very uncomfortable," said Nadal.

"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."

Fritz was battling an injury of his own, as he suffered an ankle problem in his semi-final against Andrey Rublev. The new world number 13 was even advised to withdraw from the final, but opted to battle through the pain, which he did in style.

"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," said Fritz. "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."

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