America Has a Next Pete Sampras in Memphis Runner-up Taylor Fritz

by Jeremy Davis | February 14th, 2016, 10:24 pm

It was a learning experience for American teen wildcard Taylor Fritz, who stormed to an early lead in the final of the Memphis Open in his first ATP final on Sunday, but in the end fell to the experienced Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4.
“It’s amazing to win four [Memphis titles] in a row,” Nishikori said. “It was a tough start again today, but I managed it better. I played better tennis as the match went on and I’m happier with the second set. I only gave him a few points on my serve in the last few games…We practiced five or six times the past few years in California, so I know how he plays. I never beat him before, so I was happy to beat him in a match.”

Fritz came out of the gates firing from the baseline and off serve, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, but the remainder of the match was the American searching for that line between the proper aggression and staying in baseline rallies. Points were punctuated by numerous points where Fritz would force short returns, but then run up and hit before scampering back to the baseline rather than ending points at the net.

The world No. 145 18-year-old Fritz reached his first ATP final in only his third tour-level event. Let the massive amounts of pressure and “Next American!” shouting begin.

Unlike Pete Sampras, who he has a passing likeliness to in his lanky frame, Fritz seems hesitant to come to the net although he has a study volley and net sense. But like Sampras he seems to have more explosive talent then he knows what to do with, while waiting for his teenage body to come into its own.

“I need to get my body stronger and I can continue to play at this level,” said Fritz, who joined former world No. 1 Americans Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick, and former No. 2 Michael Chang as 18-year-old Americans to reach an ATP final in the last 30 years.

“[Nishikori] started off a little tentative and was leaving some balls for me to step in and hit. He was making some mistakes, but he loosened up and started playing much better.”

It was the 11th career title for Nishikori and his first since Washington last year.

All eyes will be on Fritz this week at the Delray Beach Open in Delray Beach, Fla.


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7 Comments for America Has a Next Pete Sampras in Memphis Runner-up Taylor Fritz

chrisford1 Says:

The next Pete Sampras???? A very fast, impresive rise in rakings.
Nadal and Djoker soared up fast, too. (As did Sampras, obviously). Some others though, zommed up as fast but plateau’d, stuck on a lower tier of ranking, fell out due to injury or illness, or had everything and threatened and maybe could have made Top 5 on talent.
But didn’t.
We will see on Fritz..

RZ Says:


Factoid from Twitter about Fritz:

Jeff Sackmann ‏@tennisabstract
Every American 18-year-old who has reached an ATP final in the last 30 years:


Humble Rafa Says:

No, I am not afraid of the Zika virus.


Wog Boy Says:

If somebody told me that Isner is going to lose two matches in one week by losing four TBs, I would tell him he is crazy, but it happened, Isner lost two TBs in each of two last matches he played.

SG1 Says:

Hmmm…Fritz has a nice service motion. Very fluid. I hope you mean though that he’s the next Sampras only in terms of the context that he’s reached a final at 18. I saw Pete play Wilander at 18 in 1989. Pete’s game was a lot smoother (and bigger) than Taylor Fritz’s at the same age. It’s more likely that Fritz could become the next Andy Roddick (…not a bad fate BTW) rather than Sampras. Have to wait and see.

Wog Boy Says:

Hmm..what happened to next Pete Sampras? He couldn’t back it up in Delray Beach, lost in the first round to Smyczek, pretty convincingly too.

Anybody watching Delpo now? He is about to play now.

Wog Boy Says:

And Tomic the TE, has plenty of time now to drive his Ferrari around Miami since Ram kicked his ass in the first round, pretty badly too.

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