Rafael Nadal reveals he suffered from breathing problems during Indian Wells final defeat

The 35-year-old required a medical timeout after losing the opening set to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final.

Rafa Nadal's 20-game winning streak came to an end on Sunday night as the Spaniard suffered defeat to America's Taylor Fritz in California.

Fritz dominated the opening set, before clinching a dramatic tie-break in the second to seal a 6-3 7-6(5) victory and lift his first Masters 1000 title, becoming the first American winner of Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001.

The 24-year-old stormed to a 4-0 lead in the opener, and after wrapping up the set Nadal called for a medical timeout, with the 21-time Grand Slam winner struggling with breathing problems.

He also required treatment after his semi-final win over compatriot Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday, and it was clear from the start of Sunday's final that Nadal's problems continued, as he struggled to chase down balls while holding his chest.

Following a brief break off court with the doctor, Nadal decided to continue, and actually improved in the second set.

However, after missing a number of break points, Nadal ultimately paid the price in a climactic tie-break, with Fritz coming out on top.

Following the win, Nadal revealed that he had problems breathing, but isn't quite sure what was causing the pains.

"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."

Nadal had already decided not to play in the Miami Open over the next fortnight and will instead have a short break before the clay-court season begins next month.

He said of his first defeat of the year: "I wanted to make it perfect before clay. It has been very, very, very beautiful. 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."

Nadal will jump to world No.3 following his superb run of form, and the clay season on the horizon, he'll hope to recover and continue climbing the ranks.

READ MORE: Indian Wells news: Rafael Nadal's 20-match streak ends as Taylor Fritz claims title

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