Taylor Fritz used the word “insane” to describe beating Rafael Nadal for his first Masters title. In March, Fritz stunned Nadal in the Indian Wells Masters final 6-3 7-6 (5) for the biggest title of his career. Before losing to Fritz, Nadal was 20-0 in 2022.
By beating Nadal, Fritz prevented Nadal from winning his fourth title in 2022 and improving to 21-0. “That was insane. I do what I do for that kind of moments. It’s the reason why I play tennis. Before the match I was not even sure how I was going to be able to play it, and then I’m winning.
I was twenty in the world. A crazy title to me,” Fritz told CLAY.
Fritz on losing to Nadal at Wimbledon
A few months later, Fritz and Nadal met again on the big stage. This time, the surface was grass as Nadal edged out Fritz in the Wimbledon quarterfinal 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (4).
During the match, Nadal was hampered by an abdominal injury and later pulled out from his semifinal match against Nick Kyrgios. Fritz drew some criticism after failing to beat an injured Nadal. Now, Fritz explains why Nadal was able to still be effective and eventually win the match.
“I felt like from the ground, forehand, backhand, movements, he was normal. Maybe for a couple of games it seemed like different, but in the fourth and the fifth set he was getting the balls back that a lot of people normally wouldn’t.
The biggest difference with the injury was the serve. He started to serve maybe ten miles per hour slower, but I actually felt I was returning the serve better when he was serving it harder, because it was coming at me more and I had more pace to work with.
When he started serving it softer because of the injury, I had to step up in the court more and I also had to swing more on the return because I had less pace to work with. So it sounds weird, but I actually felt like it was almost a bit tougher for me to hit strong-deep returns off of the softer serve,” Fritz explained.