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Taylor Fritz dismisses any idea of Rafael Nadal faking injury, saying: 'He played through pain'

Taylor Fritz question whether Novak Djokovic was really injured at the 2021 Australian Open, but he has dismissed any idea Rafael Nadal 'made up an injury' at Wimbledon.
Rafael Nadal celebrates at Wimbledon

Taylor Fritz has dismissed any suggestion that Rafael Nadal was not genuinely injured in their Wimbledon quarterfinal.

Nadal has been playing every match in the tournament with strapping on his abdomen, and he appeared severely hampered by it during the second set of the match, which he ended up winning in a fifth-set champions tiebreak.

The Spaniard left the court for a medical time-out and admitted later than he considered retiring from the match altogether.

Fritz has been in the same position before, with Novak Djokovic injuring his abdomen against him at the 2021 Australian Open before ultimately beating the American.

On that occasion, Fritz suggested he felt something was untoward, saying: "If he was really, really injured he wouldn’t have kept playing."

However, he seems to be giving Rafael Nadal much more benefit of the doubt.

Asked if he thought there was any 'gamesmanship' going on from Nadal with the injury, Fritz said: "No.

"I think in the beginning when he did it, he probably didn't know maybe how bad it was. Maybe that explains how the movement for a couple games was maybe not as, like, explosive.

"I don't know if he took any painkillers or anything. Kind of once he got a feel for the injury, he knew it was only really going to really affect him on the serve and he could, like, play through from the back.

"I don't think he, like, made up an injury or anything. His serve dropped, like, I don't know, 10, 15 miles per hour. He wouldn't do that for no reason.

"From the ground I thought third set, fourth set, fifth set, he was money. He was moving really well, playing amazing defence.

"I was absolutely ripping the ball in corners and he was running and ripping them back for winners.

"I'm sure he played through most likely a lot of pain. Everyone's got little injuries and everyone's got stuff this late into a tournament. Everyone's kind of trying to play through stuff. It is what it is."

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Before the tournament, Stefanos Tsitsipas said that he felt Rafael Nadal was actually more dangerous when he was injured.

The Greek believed it triggered a new level of siege mentality and fighting spirit in Nadal.

That is something that Taylor Fritz admits crossed his mind at times during their Centre Court clash but ultimately it was his own mindset that cost him.

"I think maybe in the second set when it looked bad, it definitely made me kind of think," he said.

"I kind of stopped being as aggressive. I feel like I let it kind of get to me a little bit. It looked for a bit like he wasn't moving so well for some shots, and then obviously the serve lost some speed.

RELATED: Taylor Fritz admits Rafael Nadal left him ‘wanting to cry’ at Wimbledon

"But then I feel like towards the end of the second, we played some really long rallies where I was running him side to side and he was making some gets that I don't think a lot of normal players would be getting to.

"I feel like after he won the second set and after we had some of those long, extended rallies, I kind of like snapped back into it.

"I was like: 'All right, from the ground I can't treat it like he's injured. These points we're playing, the gets he's making seem normal. The only thing different was the speed of the serve.'

"Yeah, I think in the second set it definitely kind of just like maybe just made me feel like I could like play a little bit safer for a bit.

"Like I said, I snapped out of it because I felt like once we had some of those longer, extended rallies where he was running side by side, I had to play normal if I wanted to win."

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