Roland Garros-Taylor Fritz A Year Later

1. Roland Garros Logo

 

A year ago, Taylor Fritz was a Roland Garros rookie. For the most part, he was unknown to the international junior scene until he played his way into the “watch me” spotlight. At the 50thAstrid Bowl, in Charleroi, Belgium, the lights started to shine brightly after he defeated Orlando Luz of Brazil, in “the best match I have ever played”, 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus, who went on to win the Boys’ event, ended his run by those same scores in the semifinal.

Taylor Fritz handled his opponent and the weather.  Photo Mark Winters

Taylor Fritz handled his opponent and the weather.
Photo Mark Winters

Luz gained revenge downing the youngster from Rancho Santa Fe, 6-4, 6-0 in the second round in Paris last year. Still one of the preeminent boys’ terre battue competitors in the world, the Brazilian is the No. 1 seed in the 2015 Simple Junior Garcons event, and the once inexperienced Fritz is No. 2.

Gabriel Decamps of Brazil was his first round opponent in a Sunday afternoon match and Fritz, having waited through delays brought about by two hours of rain, came out ready to perform. He held serve easily then broke during another shower that had spectators watching points from underneath unfolded umbrellas. Dodging the sprinkles from the sky, he smoothly controlled the situation. As always, his forehand was telling, his backhand had length, and his serve was “Fritz point winning”, which resulted in a 6-1 first set.

In the second set, Decamps geared up and provided more of a challenge as Fritz explained, “I felt pretty good in the beginning. I was aggressive and was hitting my shots. In the second set, I let things slide and he played better. I got a break at the end, but it was close.”

Taylor Fritz's serve was point winning.  Photo Mark Winters

Taylor Fritz’s serve was point winning.
Photo Mark Winters

The match went into the record book as a 6-1, 6-4 victory for Fritz in fifty-three minutes. Asked to look back on his development since his initial appearance at Roland Garros, Fritz said, “I feel I have made a big improvement in my fitness and I am moving better. I still have a lot to do, but I have made progress.”

Last year, his mother, Kathy May Fritz, a Roland Garros quarterfinalist in 1977 and ’78, was a spectator. She is in Paris again. Following the match, the 2011 Southern California Tennis Association Hall of Fame inductee, said, “I think he has improved a lot. We, (husband, Guy Fritz is a distinguished teaching professional), knew that he was talented, but it was a question of how hard he wanted to work.”

Fritz has put in the time, but he is far from a finished product. “My parents have always provided good direction and made good decisions for me,” he said. “They played (on the tour) and understand what is involved. I know that I can trust them completely.”

For some, being basically an unknown then becoming one of the best in junior tennis might be stressful. For Fritz, it’s a non-issue. “I don’t feel any pressure being the No. 2 seed,” he said. “I know that players are going to play well against me. I know I have a target on my back, but I am comfortable.”

And, he proved that today.

Mark Winters

Look for a fresh examination of tennis topics at “Mark Thoughts”

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