Rafael Nadal turns attention to clay despite suffering chest injury

Rafael Nadal turns his attention to the clay court season after suffering chest injury in Indian Wells final defeat by American Taylor Fritz

  • Taylor Fritz won the title at Indian Wells with a 6-3 7-5(5) victory on Sunday 
  • The 24-year-old American ended Rafael Nadal’s unbeaten start to the year  
  • He is the first American to lift the trophy since Andre Agassi back in 2001 
  • Nadal said he had some breathing difficulty during the defeat in the final 

Rafael Nadal was heading back to Europe on Monday, his body having finally given out on him after his remarkable start to the season.

He does so with a newly-boosted ranking of world No 3, despite going down to his first loss in 21 matches this season, in the final of the BNP Paribas Open.

The 35 year-old Spaniard was suffering not with his recent foot problems, but from what appeared to be a strained muscle in the chest area during his 6-3, 7-6 defeat to American Taylor Fritz. The 23 year-old Californian became the first American to win at Indian Wells since 2001.

American Taylor Fritz (left) beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets to claim the title at Indian Wells

‘I wanted to make it perfect before the clay, no? It has been very, very, very beautiful. Honestly I am sad because the way I was not able to compete,’ said Nadal.

After winning three prior tournaments he is back in his familiar position of being favourite when the lead-in to Roland Garros begins at Monte Carlo next month.

This despite Novak Djokovic reclaiming the world number one spot, at the same time as being absent from the tour due to an inability to enter the United States in his unvaccinated state.

Djokovic went above Daniil Medvedev due to the Russian dropping points. However, they may swap places again in a fortnight’s time if Medvedev makes a deep run at the Miami Open.

Fritz beat an out-of-sorts Nadal 6-3 7-6 (5) to claim just his first ATP Masters 1000 title

He could face Andy Murray in the second round if the Scot got past Argentinian Federico Delbonis in the opener.

Harriet Dart lost in the first round of qualifying, having made her first appearance in the women’s top 100 at 99 on Monday’s new list.

Emma Raducanu is number eleven seed and after receiving a bye will face either a qualifier or Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.

Britain is guaranteed to have at least four male singles competitors in the Miami main draw, with the possibility that 20 year-old Jack Draper – given a wildcard – could meet Cam Norrie in the second round. Before that Draper would need to beat French veteran Gilles Simon.

Nadal revealed he had breathing issues during the final when speaking after the match

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