Hitting the Big Time – Taylor Fritz is looking to put in some strong performances at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year
For a good while now, Taylor Fritz has been spoken of as the Next Big Thing of American men's tennis. But maybe it's time to drop the 'next'.
A 25-year-old Californian and HEAD ambassador, he’s now a force at the top of the sport who will be demanding your attention on the hard courts of Melbourne Park this January. Fritz goes into the Australian Open with ambitions of becoming the first American man for 20 years to score a Grand Slam singles title, since Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open.
For all his height and might - he's almost two metres tall, he's capable of serving at almost 150mph or close to 240 km/h and he can pulverise opponents with his forehand - his most powerful weapon might just be his mind and a belief in his abilities.
"I absolutely feel as though I belong," said Fritz, who endorses the new HEAD RADICAL racquet, which will be launched in February with the upgrade of innovative Auxetic technology and a fresh, bold and asymmetrical design. Offering outstanding versatility and playability, the RADICAL is known as 'The People's Racquet'. Whether you are an intermediate player or an advanced tournament player, you will find a racquet within the four different models of the upgraded RADICAL series.
Befitting a man with such a fast serve, Fritz made rapid progress in 2022, a season of firsts. It was at the 2022 Australian Open that he reached the fourth round of a major for the first time, and there was another breakthrough in Indian Wells, in his home state of California, where he defeated Rafael Nadal to win a first ATP Masters 1000 title. What made that victory all the more remarkable (he called it a "wild dream, a childhood dream come true") was that he was in such excruciating pain beforehand from an ankle injury that his coaches and doctors advised him against playing.
Fritz, whose mother Kathy May was a top 10 player, also went deep into the draw at Wimbledon, reaching a first Grand Slam quarter-final, where he took Nadal to a fifth set tiebreak. After breaking into the top 10 in the rankings, having also won titles in Eastbourne and Tokyo, he appeared at the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin, making the semi-finals of an exclusive event restricted to tennis VIPs. All this is to say that Fritz has the game, and the mentality, to reach a first Grand Slam semi-final at Melbourne Park. And then perhaps a first major final, maybe even a first Grand Slam title. No more 'next'. Taylor Fritz, the Big Thing of American men's tennis.