Rafael Nadal sad French Open

Rafael Nadal says poor form following injury is ‘just what happens’

Rafael Nadal says he needs to allow himself time to work his way back from injury after he lost his ATP Finals opener to Taylor Fritz.

Nadal started 2022 in imperious form, winning the first two Grand Slams of the season to take his career total to a record-extending 22.

He has struggled with injury since, though, as he battled both his chronic foot problem and two abdominal tears.

That has seriously derailed what initially looked like it could be a landmark year, even by his standards, but he says he is not overly concerned about losing his first match in successive tournaments.

“In most of the points of the match, I was in a defensive position, and he was in an offensive position,” said Nadal.

“That’s what happened… But every single time I came back from injury, [it’s not normal] playing against top players [from] the first day. That’s what’s happens when you are coming back playing Masters 1000s and [the Nitto ATP Finals].”

Despite that, Rafael Nadal says it is important to not take credit away from Fritz, who is improving all the time.

“We can find different ways to explain what happened, at the end [of the day], Fritz played very well,” Nadal said.

“I was not able to handle his power. It’s obvious that in this kind of surface, you need to play very well. You don’t have time to think for a tactic… There is no time. The things are going so quick.

“Serving like Fritz served, then you are under pressure all the time. When somebody is serving that way, on the return he is going for every shot. [It was] just well played from him, not enough from me.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.