Rumors from the day before wanted Fritz to be one step away from retreat. After nineteen minutes of the game, it would have been more legitimate to expect that from Rafael Nadal. The extraordinary streak of successes of the Spanish champion stops at twenty, obviously conditioned by fatigue (accumulated in the marathon victory with Alcaraz in the semifinals) and also by a not exactly brilliant physical state one step away from the fourth title of the season.
The three-time champion of the tournament, who somehow manages to make the passive acceptable in the initial fraction, loses all the important points during the second and, above all, does not dominate in the decisive moment (at 5-4) with a very expensive mistake.
Playing an extraordinarily brave game, Fritz becomes the youngest Indian Wells champion since 2011 (Djokovic, ed) and the first to add the American flag to Agassi's scoreboard in 2001. For the American - a native of San Diego, a handful of kilometers from the venue of the first '1000' of the season - it is obviously the most prestigious success there is and a new launching pad.
Short, lacking, slow in lateral movements. For Nadal, who wins the first fifteen in a rather daring way, the first nineteen are nightmare minutes. Enough for Fritz, who constantly manages to keep his feet on the court and drive with his forehand, to move quite easily to 4-0, despite the rumors of the day before.
Rafa suffered the latest injury setback
During a press conference at the BNP Paribas Open, Rafael Nadal recalled an incident from Roland Garros in 2005 when the crowd was constantly on his back. The Spaniard said the atmosphere at times was "unplayable" but that his job was to maintain his focus and find a way to carry on.
"I've always had a very basic point of view and it's to do the things that are going to help you play better or win more. You can be sad, you can be very upset - if that helps you play better or win more, do it. But that's not true in my case," Nadal said.
"When I am upset or lose my concentration, I say, I am not this kind of guy [who gets upset]. I like to be positive, not negative. Not just on the tennis court, in my normal life too. So, of course, I remember that match and for a moment it was unplayable, but was not my job to stop that.
It was the referee's job to stop this atmosphere that was making it impossible to play tennis in that moment," he said. "But then I think we stopped for light or rain, I don't know, and then we come back the next day. But I just tried to do the things that help me to keep going."