Taylor Fritz's coach: Playing injured against Rafael Nadal was extremely stubborn

Fritz defeated Nadal in the 2022 Indian Wells final while dealing with a foot pain.

by Dzevad Mesic
Taylor Fritz's coach: Playing injured against Rafael Nadal was extremely stubborn

Coach Michael Russell said Taylor Fritz's decision to play injured the 2022 Indian Wells Masters final against Rafael Nadal was something "extremely stubborn." On the morning of last year's Indian Wells final, Fritz crushed onto the practice court after feeling a very sharp pain in his foot.

The doctor on site advised Fritz not to play - the American's entire team wanted him to listen to the doctor - but he refused. After taking two injections in his foot, Fritz went out on the court and upset Nadal for his first Masters title.

"We can say playing the finals of Indian Wells when he couldn’t even walk. That was extremely stubborn because we all, just based on his feelings and what he was explaining to us, it was the most excruciating pain he’s ever felt in his life.

We didn’t want him to have a career-ending injury not just for tennis, but for quality of life. He insisted on playing and obviously the rest we know what happened. He’s extremely stubborn on that front. A lot of times he’ll make decisions that he thinks are best, but usually the team goes along with it," Russell told the ATP website.

Fritz: The injury 'loosened me up' against Nadal

Because Fritz knew he wasn't 100% against Nadal, he came out on the court without any pressure or expectations. In the end, that worked extremely well for Fritz, who ended up beating Nadal 6-3 7-6 (5).

"It helped me on the court. I knew I had absolutely nothing to lose, for sure. Being injured or people thinking you're injured when you're not, it depressurizes you. Some people might do it on purpose, I absolutely don't. I had a serious injury and I didn't think I was going to play.

It definitely loosened me up and I was like, who cares? I'm injured and let's go out there and do what I can," Fritz said on the Break Point: A Netflix Recap Show podcast.

Taylor Fritz Rafael Nadal Indian Wells