Taylor Fritz knows his time is now

The question has been requested so many occasions that it’s turn into a cliche: When is an American going to win a males’s Grand Slam title in tennis?

“We joke about the question,” 24-year-old Taylor Fritz informed The Post forward of this year’s U.S. Open. “It comes up so much. I’ve been hearing it since I was 18.”

Taylor Fritz tries to hit a tennis ball from the stands into a bath on the courtroom with members of Dude Perfect throughout Arthur Ashe Kids Day.
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“I don’t think it’s a flag issue,” Frances Tiafoe, additionally 24, added.

In case you haven’t heard the joke, otherwise you’ve been residing in a cave for the final 20 years, the final time a males’s participant from the U.S. received a significant was practically 20 years in the past, when Andy Roddick captured the 2003 U.S. Open, the place he beat Juan Carlos Ferrera in straight units.

What’s occurred since?

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, in fact. The Big 3 have mixed for 62 of their collective 63 majors in that span, with Federer’s 2003 Wimbledon victory the lone stand out.

But with Federer nonetheless out as he recovers from knee surgical procedure, Djokovic watching from residence due to his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine and Nadal coming off an stomach tear that knocked him out of the Wimbledon semifinals, there is extra than simply hope for everybody else.

As for the Americans’ greatest possibilities, take your choose.

Six of them within the draw are ranked within the prime 50 on this planet — Fritz, Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Max Cressy, Jenson Brooksby and Jon Isner. Just outdoors that group is 52nd-ranked and 22-year-old Sebastian Korda, who many in tennis say has essentially the most expertise among the many group. But he’s nonetheless younger and lacks expertise on the massive stage, having solely twice gotten past the third spherical of a significant.

Similarly, 19-year-old Ben Shelton is poised to be “The Next Big Thing” in U.S. males’s tennis. The University of Florida alum just lately turned professional and in simply two months reached his first Challenger closing, received his first ATP match and secured his first top-five victory. The future seems to be vivid for the son of former tour participant Bryan Shelton, however once more, expertise.

If there is one American whose time must be now, although, it’s Fritz — and he knows it.

“I’m really over [being] close,” Fritz informed The Post. “I’ve been close to beating [the Big 3] for years. I’ve taken that ‘positive’ [of a good match] away too many times. I can’t be happy about almost winning anymore.”

Early within the year, it regarded like perhaps he was over it. Two months after blowing a two-sets-to-one lead in opposition to Stefanos Tsitsipas within the spherical of 16 on the Australian Open, he knocked off Nadal in straight units at Indian Wells for his first ATP 1000 Series title. A number of months later, he beat Cressy to say one other title at Eastbourne the week earlier than Wimbledon.

Taylor Fritz reacts to a point during his match against Andrey Rublev at the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Taylor Fritz reacts to some extent throughout his match in opposition to Andrey Rublev on the Western & Southern Open on the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Susan Mullane/USA TODAY Sports

Then got here one other showdown in opposition to Nadal, this time on the All England Club. Fritz was twice a sport away from knocking out the wounded Spaniard and reaching the semifinals, solely to lose in a grueling five-set tiebreak. Going into the match, Fritz felt good given his earlier victory. He left devastated, and pissed off.

“To be able to beat one of those guys when there’s a title on the line and play a clean match and not be scared of it is big,” he informed The Post. “I was so much more confident because I’d already beaten him and grass is suited for me. I was more upset that I lost.”

The subsequent month in Washington D.C., although, Fritz was merely “embarrassed” after retiring from warmth exhaustion in his Round of 16 match in opposition to Dan Evans, who was up 3-6, 7-6(6), 4-1 when he give up. He later apologized on social media.

Perhaps it was a wake-up name.

Earlier this month in Cincinnati, Fritz dusted arguably the most popular participant on the planet, Wimbledon runner-up and Citi Open champ Nick Kyrgios, 6-3, 6-2, within the second spherical. Then in opposition to world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, he fell in straight units within the quarterfinals.

A fame additionally persists — Taylor Fritz enjoys being Taylor Fritz somewhat an excessive amount of, whether or not it’s the mannequin girlfriend, starring in a Netflix documentary about life on tour or having fun with the spoils of being younger, good wanting and gifted. 

Still, there are causes for the hard-hitting American with a giant forehand to be optimistic with regards to going deep in Flushing. He’s 35-14 this season, has the 2 titles on his resume, crushed Nadal as soon as already and has reached no less than the fourth spherical in two of the year’s first three majors.

“If grass isn’t my best surface, hard courts are,” stated Fritz, whose greatest outcome within the U.S. Open is twice reaching the third spherical. “I haven’t done historically well this time of year in the past, but I’m also such a different player than I’ve been any other years since end of last year. My game has gone to another level, so I’m excited to go into this for the first time as a different player.”

We’ll see.

At least he doesn’t have to fret about most of The Big 3, and that might go a great distance.

“You’re playing in an era of the three best players of all time playing at the same time,” Fritz stated. “It’s just now starting to feel like I can contest those guys or win titles. When I was 18 or 19, it was, just hope you get a good draw.”

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