Taylor Fritz makes Carlos Alcaraz claim in exclusive Tennis365 interview
Carlos Alcaraz is the strong favourite to win this year’s French Open, yet Taylor Fritz has insisted the rise of the Spanish superstar is inspiring him to reach for more in his own game.
Fritz made his breakthrough as one of the shining stars of the men’s game last year, reaching the end-of-year ATP Finals for the first time and making his bursting through into the top ten of the rankings list.
Now Alcaraz is threatening to take over the game’s leading star after two decades that were dominated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, yet Fritz insists he welcomes the challenge from Alcaraz.
The American was given a hint of what may become the norm in the latter stages of tournaments when he was heavily beaten by Alcaraz at the Miami Open in March, but he has told Tennis365 he is ready to raise his game to take on the rising force in the men’s game.
Here is our full interview with Fritz, as he opened up on all aspects of the game and his life in his role as a LEVEL SELECT OTC ambassador.
How would you sum up the last year of your career?
Hard work paying off! I’ve put so much time and effort into being a top player and a top 10 player. It’s amazing and very satisfying to see all that hard work, pain, struggle, and determination turn into something so positive.
Did you always believe the top five was a realistic target?
I’d like to say yes but there are always a lot of highs and lows and moments that test your motivation and your belief. I always thought I was capable and had the game but the rest you never really know.
Are you looking forward to the day when Nadal and Djokovic are not there in Grand Slam events?
Hard to say. We all looked up to them so much growing up, so we love testing ourselves against them and they’re such legends of our game. But from a perspective of, would it be easier to not be in the same draw as them, of course but it will be sad once they retire for the sport.
Is it annoying that a new superstar has emerged to fill the void left by the ‘Big Three’? How do you feel when you see how well Carlos Alcaraz is playing?
Motivated to get better. He’s really talented and it’s amazing how quickly he’s been able to play so well at this level and beyond. He’s going to push all of us to keep improving, which is exciting.
What should tennis do to reach out to a wider audience?
I grew up gaming a lot (still do) and watching YouTube videos and YouTube creators, so I know how many alternative entertainment options there are out there for young people. We as a sport have to figure out how to better reach that audience and bring a younger crowd into tennis. I don’t know what the answer is, but we have to make some changes to find a better balance between the great traditions of tennis, which I love and value, and what that new audience is looking for.
Did you enjoy being part of the Netflix show “Break Point”?
Yes, it’s been a great experience. They didn’t interfere really at all, thankfully. Almost everything, outside of a few sit-down interviews, was them following us around and capturing all the things we were already doing anyway. It’s just nice to see the final product and we hope it will grow the game and bring new fans into the sport.
Stories about Morgan always get a big interest on Tennis365, so how important is it for tennis to get to know players on and off the court?
I think that is the most important thing. When I think back to tennis players and sports stars that I admired or paid attention to it was always because firstly I valued their abilities on the court or on the field, and secondly because I connected with their story and the stories of those around them. We have to do a better job in tennis of telling those stories. If you look at F1 now for example, people are captivated by F1 because “Drive to Survive” did an amazing job of letting people into that world and told the stories of the drivers. Now the fans feel more connected than ever because they know the man under the helmet and because of that they feel more invested.
Who is your best friend on the tennis tour?
Difficult to say. I’d say Tommy (Paul), Reilly (Opelka), and Frances (Tiafoe) have been very close for a long time. We grew up in junior tennis together and then all turned pro so we’ve had an amazing journey together.
Do you watch tennis on TV in your spare time?
Here and there but I love to play video games in my free time. It’s a nice change up and distraction for me.
What is your verdict on the GOAT debate – Federer, Nadal or Djokovic?
Impossible to answer that one. They’re all greats!
What is the most annoying thing about tennis?
Doing all the preparation, playing great in practice, and then not performing during the match.
READ MORE: Taylor Fritz exclusive as he admits ‘tennis has to do a better job’ in key area
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