After spending a month away from home, Rafael Nadal has returned to Spain and landed at Barcelona airport. The 21-time Major winner lost the Indian Wells title on Sunday to Taylor Fritz, losing his first match of the season and Heading home for a well-deserved rest.
Asked about his condition at the airport, Rafa said it’s all good. The 35-year-old made an incredible start to the season, conquering the first 20 matches and lifting three titles from four finals. With these points, Rafa is back inside the top-3 for the first time since August last year, hoping for more good runs on his beloved clay in the upcoming months.
Rafa struggled with a pectoral muscle injury in Indian Wells, preventing him from performing at his best against Fritz. The first-time Masters 1000 finalist defeated Nadal 6-3, 7-6 in two hours and six moments for the most significant moment of his young career.
Rafael Nadal returned to Spain from Indian Wells.
Like Rafa, Taylor was also far from his best, dealing with an ankle injury but deciding to play and give his best against the legend. The American was the more determined player on the court, and he used the fact that Nadal made too many unforced errors after struggling to breathe or move properly.
Taylor saved eight out of ten break points and made the difference with four breaks of serve and better performance in the crucial moments. Fritz made a great start and broke Nadal in games two and four for a 4-0 advantage in swift 19 minutes.
The American served for the opener at 5-2 when the Spaniard grabbed his first break and prolonged the action. Instead of building on that, Rafa experienced the third break in game nine to hand the opener to his rival 6-3 in 39 minutes.
The rivals traded breaks in the second set’s three and four, and Fritz defended no less than four break points in game five to avoid the deficit. In game nine, the American erased another break chance and created a match point on the return in the next one with a forehand winner.
Nadal saved it to extend the battle and reached a tie break after squandering two break points at 5-5. In the tie break, Rafa sent a forehand drive-volley wide at 5-4 and lost the next point on his serve to fall 6-5 behind. Taylor converted the second match point to seal the deal and celebrate the most notable title at 24.