Rafael Nadal has revealed he struggled to breath throughout his straight sets defeat to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final.
The Australian Open champion was 4-0 down in the first set, at which point he left the court for medical treatment. He improved when returning to the court, but lost 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) to Fritz, who became the first American to win Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001.
“It’s tough for me to breathe,” Nadal told the press afterwards.
“When I try to breathe, it’s painful and it’s very uncomfortable.
“I don’t know if it’s something in the ribs. 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.”
Fritz wins his first Masters 1000 title
Nadal‘s 20-match unbeaten run came to an end on Sunday and he was gracious in defeat, despite not being able to play at his best.
“This is not the time to talk about this, even if it’s obvious that I could not do normal things today,” added Nadal.
“It’s a final. I tried. I lost to a great player. It’s not the day to talk about what’s going on with me. It’s his [Fritz‘s] day.”
Will Nadal be ready for the French Open?
Nadal is expected to prepare for French Open, as he looks to win a record-extending 14th title at Roland Garros.
The world number three lost in the semi-finals to Novak Djokovic in Paris last year, but admits he is more worried about his body after being pushed for an answer about his breathing issues.
“Honestly, I am sad because of the way I was not able to compete,” said Nadal.
“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.”