Rafael Nadal suffered breathing difficulties during his Indian Wells final defeat

Rafael Nadal suffered breathing difficulties during his Indian Wells final defeat to Taylor Fritz at the weekend.

The 35-year-old Spaniard was the favourite to win the first Masters event of 2022.

He had already won his first 20 matches of the season and landed three titles in the process, one of which was a 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open.

Taylor Fritz of the United States holds his winner’s trophy after his straight sets victory against Rafael Nadal on Day 14 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Pic: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images© Provided by Extra.ie Taylor Fritz of the United States holds his winner’s trophy after his straight sets victory against Rafael Nadal on Day 14 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Pic: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nadal had been through the wars getting to the final with a number of close matches, and he needed medical attention at the end of his semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday.

During Sunday’s final he kept rubbing his chest and went off court at the end of the first set with the doctor.

He returned but struggled and wasn’t chasing balls down in his usual style.

Speaking afterwards, he said: ‘When I’m breathing, when I’m moving, it’s like a needle all the time inside. 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.’

Rafael Nadal holds his runner’s up trophy aloft after his straight sets defeat against Taylor Fritz in the men’s final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Pic: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images© Provided by Extra.ie Rafael Nadal holds his runner’s up trophy aloft after his straight sets defeat against Taylor Fritz in the men’s final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Pic: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nadal has now opted to take a two-week break before clay-court season kicks off.

He added: ‘Honestly I am sad because of the way I was not able to compete. It’s tough to have these feelings, every day, but in the final it’s very, very ugly.

‘But I am not the kind of person that goes down or goes very high emotionally depending on the moment. I am normally stable, putting everything in perspective.

‘Of course, the last two months have been amazing, unforgettable, very emotional. I enjoyed 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. The thing that worries me is about what’s going on there, what I have to do now to recover and how long it’s going to take.’

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