Whe can be, thought Taylor Fritz over and over again. How can that be? He sprained his foot the night before the final, was in so much pain during the first warm-up before the match that he cried out, and people on his team were urging him not to start. But Fritz says of himself that he’s quite a stubborn guy, so he ignored the well-intentioned advice.
He underwent treatment, the foot was mostly numbed, and the second attempt at warm-up felt a lot better. I can play after all, thought Fritz. Let’s go. A few hours later, he was happily holding the massive trophy, weighing more than 20 kilograms, won by beating Rafael Nadal in the final (6:3, 7:6).
It was a completely crazy combination of many things, said the 24-year-old Californian afterwards, “I never thought that something like this was possible.” Winning one of the biggest tennis titles at home in the Californian desert, as the first American at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001, all on one stunned foot and against the man who had yet to lose a game that year.
The loser of that final was not doing so well, and that had less to do with the defeat itself. Rafael Nadal also went into this final stricken. The night before, in the final phase of the game against his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, he had first noticed the pain in his chest. It hurt him to breathe, but because of the late hour there was no time to have the problem investigated further.
Nadal looks battered
Rafael Nadal fought back as best he could but it didn’t go well enough. He stood on the podium at the award ceremony with a sad look on his face, and later in the press conference he also seemed battered. Of course he was disappointed because he would have loved to have finished that part of the season undefeated.
Even before the start in Indian Wells he had declared that he would not play in Miami afterwards, where the next Masters 1000 tournament will continue this week, but he was clearly worried when he left California. He now has to clarify as quickly as possible what is wrong in his chest. When he breathed, he sometimes felt a sharp pain, maybe something was wrong with a rib.
Iga Swiatek was definitely doing better than the patients from the men’s final on the final day of the BNP Paribas Open. In top form, quick on her feet and confident in her head, the young Pole won her second 1000m title this year by beating Maria Sakkari from Greece (6:4, 6:1).
With this success, she moved up to number two in the world rankings, but Sakkari also overtook previous number two, Barbora Krejcikova. Honestly, Swiatek said after the final, this number two feels somehow surreal at the moment. “But I want more and I feel like number one is getting closer and closer.” At 20, she is by far the youngest in the top ten and right now there is nobody in better shape.
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