Is Taylor Fritz The Next American Tennis Star?
by Tom Gainey | October 20th, 2015, 11:01 am
  • 82 Comments

The search for the next great American male star in tennis might finally be over. After Sam Querrey, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison, John Isner, etc., have failed to reach elite status, the next wave of teens might prove to be far superior.

Already the last three junior Grand Slam titles have gone to three American boys. Tommy Paul won the French Open juniors, 6-foot-11 giant Riley Opelka took Wimbledon and Taylor Fritz recently won the US Open avenging his loss to Paul in the French final.

The trio are not just tennis talents, they are friends.

“It’s great because we all push each other,” Fritz said in June about his relationship with the others. “We all get better because of each other. I’m so happy to be a part of it, because it’s going to help me reach my highest potential.”

But Fritz, the world No. 1 junior, is starting the separate himself from the pack. Since his US Open win he parlayed his success in the juniors into the Challenger circuit catching fire this month. Two weeks ago he stormed to the Sacremento crown beating Dustin Brown among others en route. Then Sunday, he won in Fairfield without dropping a set with victories over Blaz Kavcic, Blaz Rola, Tim Smyczek and Brown again in the final.

“It’s been a really good two weeks and it’s a really big accomplishment, but I need to stay humble,” Fritz told ATPWorldtour.com. “I’m only No. 240 now and I need to keep my head down and keep working hard. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

It wasn’t quite to the level of Novak Djokovic, but for being just 17 winning two Challenger titles consecutively is very impressive and a rare accomplishment. According to the ATP, Fritz joined a list that includes Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Tomas Berdych, Bernard Tomic and Richard Gasquet as those who have won multiple Challenger titles while under the age of 18.

And his ranking jumped from No. 694 to No. 232.

“I’d much rather be doing this than going to high school like a regular 17‑year‑old,” Fritz said last month after winning the US Open. “It’s just a lot of fun to play in all these big tournaments. It’s fun to support my home team and get the experience against a lot of accomplished professionals.”

If you haven’t’ seen him, Fritz is 6-foot-4 and his game packs a powerful punch. His serve can reach close to 140mph and his forehand is vicious.

But the biggest strides he’s made have been in his fitness.

“Even in juniors, I’ve never played two tournaments without getting tired or fatigued,” Fritz admitted after his recent success. “I just went back to back at the Challenger level, which is more draining on the body when you’re playing this type of players. It proved to me that my physical level is getting a lot better and the confidence I have from winning all these matches is helping me a lot knowing that I should be here. It’s reassuring because I had a tough decision to make between turning pro and going to college.”

This week, Fritz, who has now won 16 straight matches at all levels, is playing the Las Vegas Challenger, hoping to keep his run going against a draw featuring Brown, Harrison, Smyzek and others.

“I’m going to play a lot more tournaments,” Fritz said. “The plan was to take two months to train, but I think I’m going to bring the offseason down to one month. I thought I needed to train to have these results, but I put two really hard weeks in before Sacramento and that’s all it took to start playing like this. Once you get the results, you have to capitalize on it.”

Fritz comes from a tennis background in Rancho Sante Fe in San Diego, California, idolizing Pete Sampras. His mom, Kathy May, once played on the WTA tour reaching the Top 10, making three Grand Slam quarterfinals and winning seven titles.

Kathy May was once married to former ATP star Brian Teacher before tying the knot with Guy Fritz, a tennis coach, with whom she had three children including Taylor. Her family comes from the billion dollar May Company department stores.

“All these things on the court my dad has drilled into my head since I was a little kid,” Fritz said of his upbringing. “Usually when I miss a ball I know what I’m doing wrong because I’ve heard it a million times. They’ve helped me so much with scheduling and decision making along the way because they’ve been there. They have also taught me to have fun with it because there are no expectations and pressure.”

With Fritz, Opelka, Paul and other players like Michael Mmoh, Frances Tiafoe, Jared Donaldson and the elder Jack Sock in the mix, the future looks very promising for American tennis.

“I think people should be really excited,” Fritz said. “I think a couple of us are going to do really well. But at the same time, there shouldn’t be too much pressure put on us, because that’s never a good thing. But I do think we are all going to become good players. We might have a next American player that’s way up there.”


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82 Comments for Is Taylor Fritz The Next American Tennis Star?

Ben Pronin Says:

The US needs an American champion.


jalep Says:

Francis Tiafoe too…
17 yr. old Tiafoe is ranked #228.

But Francis has been working on his rankings longer so his jump isn’t as surprising as Taylor’s. Taylor gained 107 places last week. The week before, he moved 355 places.

What’s promising at the moment about Taylor is what’s happened since his decision to go all in for tennis. At first he was planning to take 2 months off for training but the match play is going so well and he’s feeling strong — he just keeps on like an energizer bunny. It did begin to get surprising. But…

…too soon to tell. Really like Tiafoe and Fritz. Keep up the good work!
Keeping an eye on Fritz in the Las Vegas Challenger this week.

Thanks for the writ-up, Tennis-x!


Margot Says:

I’ve been to Santa Fe, very interesting town. Tried to order a coffee but they didn’t understand my accent…..;) Mind you that happened in the USA too.
6′ 11″ would give you a big advantage in juniors but is way too tall for tennis.
I think and hope, Taylor is the real McCoy. Jumping up 460 odd places is pretty good!


jalep Says:

That’s funny, Margot. All of us think we don’t have an accent – I certainly don’t ;)

Can barely understand a heavy Southern drawl. Probably worse was the one time long ago I had benn in London and took one of those hovercraft to Netherlands — couldn’t understand anyone down where we boarded the boat on either side of the English Channel.

Reilly Opalka is the giant teen who needs to be in the new Giant League — once tennis catches on that it needs to separate these guys into height categories and raise the net. :D


Margot Says:

@jalep
The conversation went:
Me: I’d like a cup of coffee please
She: Uh?
Me: coffee please
She:Uh?
Ten minutes later:
She: Oh you mean cawfeee!


Margot Says:

Oh and, I think they’d do much better in a “giant” league too. But who would watch them? They’d need a lot of relatives to fill the stands…;)


chris ford1 Says:

A very promising start for Fritz. As his Wiki bio notes, “He is the 9th player aged 17 & under to win multiple Challenger titles. The 7th active (Gasquet, DelPo, Djoker, Berdych, Nadal, Tomic)

Time will tell if he follows the rocket upwards in the ATP rankings track to the top like Novak and Rafa did, or plateaus at a lower tier like Gasquet and Berdych did. Or shows he has a big upside years into the ATP Tour, but is hindered by injury(Delpo) or lack of drive and good attitude (Tomic).

Tiafoe is perhaps overhyped by a US PC media desperate somehow for a new black Arthur Ashe sort, like the hype machine and huge sponsors money Donald Young had.
The 6’11″ Riley Opelka is likely to follow the Isner, Dr Ivo servebot track.
Tommy Paul might be solid, but doesn’t have the power game of Fritz.

Time will tell. How to they compare to Nadal and Djokovic (or Coric, Thiem) when you look at teen promise? Those guys showed speed, top footwork, and overall athleticism. Where do the players in the recent US crop rate in those skills?


chris ford1 Says:

Margot – Your tale reminded me of an anecdote about Djokovic and Murray when they 1st met as 12 year olds. Djokers dad went with him to Britain, but when he was off doing the tourist thing, Judy Murray spelled him as Nole’s chaperon.
Djokovic was already fluent in English. But Andy’s thick Scottish accent totally defeated him. He wasn’t sure if Andy had a speech impediment or grew up in Scotland speaking a foreign language. They had to use hand signals in practices leading up to the competition to understand one another. Djokovic asked Judy Murray why he could understand her, but not Andy. If they spoke a different language up there, and Andy was still learning, Though after a couple days, Djokovic recognized some of what Andy was saying was actually English but with a difficult accent.


Margot Says:

That’s a nice story Chris. It’s true too, I find after a period of total incomprehension regarding understanding a heavy accent, the light slowly dawns :)


AlexB Says:

Rancho Santa Fe, CA, not Santa Fe, NM.

Rancho Santa Fe is upscale community north of San Diego, CA. Bill Gates owns a house there. A couple of Saudi royals, as well. Jelena Jankovic built a house in the area few years ago.


J-Kath Says:

Try Glasgow!!!!!!!! Then you’ll think you all speak like HRH…….


Margot Says:

@AlexB
Yep, I know that and I’ve been to both. In fact stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado (spelling?) where Mrs Simpson and Edward had a liaison…..Got many comments about my accent there too….
@Kath
Didn’t mention Glasgow accent in case you jumped on me, but it is very…..ahem…unique.;)


jalep Says:

Why didn’t you come say hello, Margot? It’s only a short drive to Oregon. Have eaten at Hotel Del Coronado a few times.

Watching Ramos, the Fed killer holding his ground vs top Vienna seed, Ferrer. Ferrer is fighting hard in the decider. But it’s not over.


Wog Boy Says:

Speaking of accent, I was still fairly new in Australia with a thicker (Wog) accent and I had to meet and greet British group at the airport and take them to the hotel. After I rounded up all of them (around 30 people), and start walking them to the coach one really nice elderly couple was asking me something but didn’t have a clue what they were asking me, after few tries I apologized to them saying “English is not my first language”, I could see some of the other members started to chuckle and one of them told them something and they walked towards the bank, then he came to me and told “Don’t feel bad, they are from Aberdin, we can’t understand them either and they speak English:)”


django Says:

Went to lanark and Ayr. Had a very hard time understanding. They understood me, probably because of yank shows on tv,but it was tough always saying, wot? wot?

Funny stories everyone.


Margot Says:

Well, I waved at you jalep but, when you ignored me, I just sort of lost heart and drove down to Mexico.
And boy am I glad I hadn’t seen “Sicario” before doing that! Eek!
The Mexican tourist board sure won’t be using that film any time soon.


Edwina Millington Says:

Margot

This thread reminds me of one of your classic comments when you explained that English was not Andy’s first language and we were lucky to get more than two words in a row. I’m going back a few years :-) He’s come a long way since then!


Honfleraise Says:

Forgot to put my screen name


Honfleraise Says:

I was talking with someone from California who kept saying pruduss. When I asked what that meant he looked at me as if I were stupid and replied “you know, pruduss p-r-o-d-u-c-e”


Margot Says:

Hi Hon hon :)
I thought about regurgitating that one, but decided not to.;) Anyway I knew you’d remember. :)


J-Kath Says:

Margot – I only jump on the big-mouthed people – I love Glaswegians, but that’s maybe because I don’t understand what they’re saying.

An American friend and I decided to leap on to a plane from Geneva to London and take the train to Bonny Scotland for Hogmanay (full of semidrunk Glaswegians!) – by the time she got to the Border she was comatose – (she thought she had to accept a drink if offered and ended up with two full pint glasses of almost straight whisky).

On New Year’s day – en route to a restaurant, my father proudly told her “We’ll be on the new “dual carriage” most of the way” – Eventually she whispers to me: “I haven’t seen any jewels yet”.

And the moral of the story is:
Not only do we sometimes misunderstand what people say, we can also misunderstand what people write – eg. Tennis threads.

LOL


Gypsy Gal Says:

J-Kath lol,aint that the truth,im loving all the posts from you gals on this thread….

And just to say good luck and best wishes for the future to the young up and comer,hope he has a bright future ahead of him….


J-Kath Says:

Yep Gypsy – let’s hope leap-frogs as well as he’s already done….

PS: I’ve always been assured that the best spoken English in the UK is spoken in Inverness – didn’t want to be disappointed so never actually visited.


jalep Says:

Taylor won his 1st match in Vegas and will face #203 ranked Grega Zemlja next match.

What a great thread – thanks everyone :D

Also came here to congratulate Canadians on the election results — a promising new Prime Minister!


jalep Says:

Oh…Margot, does than mean you liked Sicario?
Thinking about seeing it.


Margot Says:

@Kath
“dual” and “jewel” brilliant. BTW I’ve been up to Glasgow many times, and not on Hogmanay either usually in the Summer, and the atmosphere and the alcohol consumption were very similar.
Not just pronunciation confuses us, I recall Dolly Parton, in a UK show, introducing her brother with, “Here’s my brother, he’s Randy” and not getting at all why the audience burst out whooping and laughing.
@jalep
Yes, not sure “enjoy” is quite the word but it’s fast moving, engrossing and shocking. But I do quite like that police/gang/drugs/corruption genre. eg. Loved “True Detective 1 & 2.” And Blunt, Brolin and Benicio are excellent.
But “Sicario” has a very cynical heart.


AlexB Says:

I worked with Randy Mountain and it was his real, not his stage name.


jalep Says:

Well then, it’s settled. Sunday Matinee Sicario it is. Thanks, Margot.

“Randy” took me nearly a full minute work out why would Scots might laugh at “Randy”. lol


jalep Says:

AlexB

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/randy

How Scots define “randy”

It’s nearly a different language.


Margot Says:

Brits, darling jalep, all titter when the name “Randy” comes up….;)
Alex, was that in the UK?


jalep Says:

Oops, very sorry, Margot. Brits…

Was checking to see if Sicario was a Coen Brothers creation. No Country for Old Men has the kind of script I like. Not many friends could stomach the “gratuitous” violence but that’s something I can get around if other parts compensate. Blunt, Benicio, Brolin = Likes.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Jalep was watching TV series a remake of the film Fargo last night very dark,very violent,but it does have some dark humour,which makes it a typical Coen brothers classic….


Margot Says:

jalep, as long as you don’t come on here on Monday ranting, “Well I’m NEVER seeing another film YOU recommend, Margot!”…;) It’s Villeneuve.
Generally I love the Coen Bros: Miller’s Crossing, The Big L, Inside LD, No Country and many others. But OMG some awful turkeys like “Burn After Reading.”
Talking of gratuitous violence, did you like “The Departed?” A friend was enraged by the violece in that, but I felt it’s a Martin Scorsese film, what do you expect?
So expect violence in “Sicario!” ;)


Margot Says:

Just seen yours GG. Thought “Fargo” was terrific. One of those shows where you don’t know what the heck will happen next.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Margot yeah true,the scary thing is its all based on a true story….


elina Says:

GG, no the “based on a true story” thing-y in Fargo is a joke in both the movie and series.

Coen Bros rock.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Elina well thank goodness for that,i wouldnt like to believe that so many unpleasant people could do so many unpleasant things in one particular place in the real world lol….


elina Says:

LOL GG. I hear you!

That butcher scene was a bit OTT!


Gypsy Gal Says:

Elina hmm true,Francis McDormand made me lol,when she starting turning her nose up priceless lol….


J-Kath Says:

Margo – Yipee , yes. My hubbie is American and when he hears someone called Randy he splits his thin sides. Also (hope U like this one). When we met and when planning our next all day-date” – I said: “Well, you could knock me up in the morning”. …..I leave you to imagine the mix of disbelief and eager anticipation that struggled across his face.


J-Kath Says:

slight clarification…he NOW splits his thin side.


elina Says:

GG, oh yah? You don’t say.


J-Kath Says:

I’d like to suggest that Tennis X runs a “Lighter Side of Tennis” Thread – possibly starting the 1st of a month – and a new thread the following month.

This will allow the academics of tennis to challenge each other on traditional threads – without the trivia that of us enjoy and will not irritate the “serious analysts” with our ill-thought predictions or jokes.

Some of us could happily comment on both threads as and when we wish. Hey guys this could be revolutionary – not quite equal to democracy for all – but hells-bells – could be fun…..!!!!!!! Also good for Tennis!!!!!


jalep Says:

That’s a great idea, Kath.

Since there is no sticky feature on this website, 1st of a month threads sound good. Have wished for a casual cafe here.

I’ll copy your post and email TX the suggestion – that’s about all I know to do.

Margo, GG, yes loved “Departed”.
PS. My favorite TV series atm is a reality series called Dr. G (Jan Gavaglia) Medical Examiner. It’s autopsy almost uncensored for the noble purpose of identifying cause of death correctly and solving the puzzle.

In other news, Gulbis beat Isner, yay…2 match wins in a row for EG at Kremlin Cup.

Now to go talk to myself about WTA…


Wog Boy Says:

I wanted to put this on Nole’s thread, but Ben is not in a good mood about hijacking Nole’s thread so I’ll put it here..
jane, jalep and some other girls must be happy with Gulbis performance yestrday, he beat Isner and even out aced him, 23 to 16 aces.


elina Says:

Gulbis and laMonf! The Coen bros of tennis!


Margot Says:

@Kath
Must’ve thought he’d be “knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.” ;) Brilliant idea re “lighthearted” thread. BTW
@GG
But what about “Midsummer?” Gorgeous English villages where nothing happens except….murder! Eek. Who’d want to live there?
@jalep
We don’t have that one but we do have “Silent Witness” which is the same genre.
@elina
Dunno about them. Thought their last serious attempt was a bit of a fail.
@Wog BOY
What ARE you doing posting tennis news on a film site? Be off! ;)


J-Kath Says:

To an American “to knock you up” means getting you pregnant —also could be heavenly.


Wog Boy Says:

I thought I might be safe on this thread..and then Margot came around..
BTW, I love inspector Barnaby..and I can see myself living there, lovely countryside..and there is always murder case to solve;)


Gypsy Gal Says:

Wogboy/Margot one of the old ladies in the care home where i work once said,how come theres so many murders in one small village?lol….


Gypsy Gal Says:

One of my favorite ever films,and one of the best films ever IMO,is definetly based on a true story The French Connection,starring Gene(Popeye Doyle)Hackman,some of the best acting,action ive ever scene in a film,IN-CRED-IBLE….


Okiegal Says:

One of my favs…..Shawshank Redemption….Love Morgan Freeman…..I thought Fargo was exceptional. The best tv


Okiegal Says:

Oops…The best TV mini series Lonesome Dove starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duval…AWESOME, I love westerns…..of course being from Oklahoma I would. Australia and Quigley Down Under…..too. I’m mesmerized by movies about Australia.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Okie absolutely loved Shawshank Redemption,i also think Tim Robbins was exceptional in that film,indeed Fargo was fantastic film,but the TV series blew it out of the water,im so glad it wasnt based on a true story,and thank the lord for that,how do you like my choice of The French Connection?….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Okie yeah great choices,reminds me of been a kid watching Western classics on a Sunday afternoon after lunch,High Chaperal,High Noon etc,i loved A Man Called Horse with the Native American Soiux Indians….


elina Says:

Best TV Series is Breaking Bad.

Even the worst Coen brothers movie is better than most movies out there.

Didn’t much care for Shawshank as we were to believe that everybody on Death Row (except one) were all misunderstood sweethearts. But that’s just the sceptical realist in me.


elina Says:

Also, the first season of True Detectives is amaaaaazing you guys!


Gypsy Gal Says:

Loved Breaking Bad….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Never saw True Detectives,loved the Mentalist,and The Guardian,Prison Break was fantastiic….


elina Says:

Check it out GG you won’t regret it. I’m not normally a fan of either Woody Harleson or Matthew McConaughy but they were fantastic in True Dectectives.

Not the second season though. Different cast, story line. Pretty much a different show all together.


Ben Pronin Says:

The best TV series is The Wire. It’s not even close.


J-Kath Says:

Jalep – Thanks – apologies for being belated.


skeezer Says:

Walter White: You want this.

Jesse Pinkman: Nothing happens until I hear you say it.” “I want this.”

Walter White: I want this.

Jesse Pinkman: Then do it yourself.


Okiegal Says:

@elina…..I don’t subscribe to HBO on my cable network so I’ve missed out on Breaking Bad and True Detective. I have friends that love both of those series. Downton Abby is the rage in the states now…people are hooked on this series. PBS carries it……..no commercials….a big plus!


Okiegal Says:

@GG….You might have liked Dancing With Wolves starring Kevin Costner…it was slow, but I liked it…..also Open Range…..slow, but I liked it…
but not as much as I like to watch Rafa play tennis…I had to get tennis in the mix, after all it’s a tennis thread….and when I think tennis, I think RAFA!! Ya dig???? Lol. :)


Ben Pronin Says:

Breaking Bad was on AMC, but it’s on Netflix.


jalep Says:

Okay Kath, waited to get your approval.

It’s almost the off season and probably a lot of us will go through tennis withdrawal and get hung up on goat, weak era, ect… plenty of threads for that. I think one time we collectively asked for a thread devoted to Fedal Wars…and got one. So, let’s see. I’ll try it.


jalep Says:

Here’s my favorite scene from No Country. Love the lack of words – it’s all in the expressions. Lady versus psychopath = Lady Bosses it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG_YiAWn8qM


Margot Says:

@jalep: brilliant scene, brilliant film.
Really couldn’t stand Matthew Mc.
Saw True Detective 1
Changed my mind re MM
Saw his Oscar acceptance scene.
Changed my mind right back.
Really liked TD 2 as well, but am a big Colin Farrell fan. However, thought the 4 main actors in it were all pretty good.
Anyone catch “Show me a Hero?”
Based on a real story about housing in Yonkers. No…bear with me… it was really interesting! Lol can see collective eye roll on tx at that…;)
I enjoyed very much, but again really like Oscar Isaacs. And could not believe how council business is conducted in New York.!


jalep Says:

Gypsy Gal, Okie Gal,

Was always for the Indians growing up – would cry when the white man won. The story of Chief Joseph and how he was cheated out of his Nezperce country broke my heart.

“I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, “Yes” or “No.” He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are — perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/a_c/chiefjoseph.htm


jane Says:

that’s a cool scene jalep; i love how he’s reflected in the black t.v. first…

margot, if you love colin farrell, go see the lobster; i loved it! his performance is wonderful. weird and wonderful film too. the first half is lol.


jane Says:

wog boy, thx for info on ernie. i have been super busy and haven’t watched any tennis. good to know he can still get a win or two. :)


jalep Says:

Hi jane. Posted congrats about your new Prime Minister. High hopes for Trudeau. Neighbors to your south are watching.


Margot Says:

And you Canadians your friends across the pond are very, very envious!
Intend to catch “Lobster” jane. Love weird and this seems very weird.


elina Says:

Margot, I just looked up that Oscar speech. I thought it came from the heart and was sincere in my opinion.

Here’s hoping the new PM in Canada can restore their former reputation as a peaceful and inclusive nation setting an example for the world. Canada had lost some of its lustre under its last government over the last decade or so.


jane Says:

definitely ANYone is better than harper. phew! “ding dong…” and all that. he’s been an embarrassment. i’m sure our whole nation hopes trudeau lives up to his promises.


Okiegal Says:

@Ben….Thanks for straightening me out on Breaking Bad. After I posted that, I had second thoughts. It must have interfered with something else I watch, never got into it….


Okiegal Says:

The Magic Mike star has charges in Texas for playing his bongo drums too loud and disturbing the peace. When the cops went in he was stark naked, that’s why he got the Magic Mike role! Bawahaha. True story except for the last 8 words. I don’t know why he got
the role……lol


J-Kath Says:

Jane – Thought you were from USA …got lots of friends living in Canada who left South Africa …
still in touch. One of them stayed with me during last Olympics and was so delighted to see Andy win Olympics…she was crying for him…aah! Originally from Wales.

What do you think about Raonic?


Okiegal Says:

Tennis-X staff….Could you remove my comment at 1:04? I’m getting old and I think I’ve got my wires crossed and may have told a falsehood…..wrong actor…..Thanks!


Gypsy Gal Says:

Jalep many thanks for those links,its on my bucket list to visit The Native American Indian Reserve,i will check out No Country For Old Men too when i get the chance….

Okie Dances With Wolves was amazing and made me cry….


Okiegal Says:

@GG….I had a feeling you would like that movie, so did I….

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