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Gracious in defeat, Nadal says latest injury “feels like a needle all the time inside”

After going down to Taylor Fritz in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Sunday, Rafael Nadal shared more details about his latest injury

Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open 2022 Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open 2022 Image Credit: Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Rafael Nadal said his breathing issue felt like “a needle all the time inside” during his straight-sets loss to American Taylor Fritz in the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.

Nadal first felt the issue during semi-final win over teenaged compatriot Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday, calling for a trainer late in the third set. He felt the same problem again on Sunday and said he was concerned as he was unable to figure out the exact issue yet.

“I don’t know, honestly. It happened yesterday night just at the end of the match last night. So finishing that late yesterday and playing today in the morning, as you can imagine, I didn’t have the chance to do many things, not even a chance to check what’s going on there. All I can say is tough to breathe for me (smiling). I don’t know, I feel very, very — when I try to breathe, it’s painful and it’s very uncomfortable.”

“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, no? I get dizzy a little bit because it’s painful. It’s a kind of pain that limits me a lot. (It) Is not only about pain, I don’t feel very well because (it) affects my breathing. More than sad for the loss, something that I accepted immediately, and even before the match ends, it’s more about that I am suffering a little bit, honestly.”

Despite that, Nadal said he did not want to take away from the biggest moment of Fritz’s career and said the American fully deserved to win.

“But that’s it, no? Iit) Is 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. I think it’s not the day to talk about what’s going on on me. It’s his day. We don’t need to hide that in my comments.”

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 is going to take

Nadal, who will not play in this week’s Miami Masters, will now return for the clay court stretch, after his best start to the season. The Spaniard had been unbeaten prior to Sunday, winning 20 consecutive matches in 2022 year. While acknowledging that he was sad to lose the final, the 21-time Grand Slam champion said he is keeping things in perspective after an unbelievable three months.

“As you know, I am sad now but I am not kind of person that goes down or goes very high emotionally depending on the moment. I am normally stable, putting everything on perspective. Of course, the last two months I have been amazing, unforgettable, very emotional. I enjoy 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, no? Practicing 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. 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 is going to take.”

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