Serving It Up with Taylor Fritz
While we have heard a lot about the other "Taylor" and her music. American Tennis star Taylor Fritz, while far less moody and mysterious, has taken the country and the world by storm. Part of Fritz's success is attributed to his commitment to cutting-edge fitness as part of his training regime. As a result, he has created a dynamic, if not super-human fitness/physio program keeping him at the top of his game. In a recent interview, Taylor took time to reflect on everything from fame to fatherhood and his newest partnership with Equinox Hotels.
Joshua Estrin: You are being called by various sources, "The future of American men's tennis." How does this affect you? Is it motivating, or do you find it only adds pressure each time you play?
Taylor Fritz: Honestly, it usually ends up feeling like added pressure. I already hold myself to a very high standard and this is just an extra layer. It is not anything I can't handle, and I do my best not to let it take up too much space in my head, but it is certainly something I am aware of and, it forces me to focus on what really matters; playing the best game I can every time.
JE: Your strategy on the court has been described as "relentless" and "attacking", with a huge serve and equally powerful forehand.
How does this compare to your demeanor off the court?
TF: I am that guy on the court and I make no apologies. That is part of what it takes to be a winner. Off the court, I like to focus that same intensity on my downtime. I know that might seem odd, but I believe we all need to "train" ourselves to relax. I show a great deal of passion when I am playing tennis. I also show a great deal of emotion during my downtime to the people in my life who matter. I guess in many ways I am that stereotypical Southern California guy who embraces a good "chill".
JE: You are slightly taller than most male tennis players. Has this been a strength, a weakness, or both?
TF: I think it has been a mix of the two. People might think that if you are taller, you will naturally be faster. While that might work in theory, I still need to move a taller, bigger body across the court. The more I get to know my body, the better player I become. This awareness has helped shape my strategy. I may not be as fast as some of the other players, so I make up for it by using my height to create a more aggressive strategy on the court. I am continually growing and learning about who I am as an athlete, and I use my entire body to my advantage. There is no one size fits all formula. I keep an open mind and I am willing to try new training techniques that will allow me to continue to be a powerhouse on the court.
JE: You are fast becoming a role model for young tennis players. Who are/were your role models growing up?
TF: I have a deep respect for all the "greats" and as new players emerge, I often find qualities in each that admire. I have always admired Pete Sampras as well as Del Potro. I was drawn to the way they played and want to emulate the way they attacked the game.
JE: You are Jordan's dad. What is the best thing about being a dad?
TF: Honestly, one of the best things about be- ing a dad is just seeing my son mirror some of the best parts of who I am. He is not a carbon copy, and he is already definitely his own per- son. Watching him mature, navigate the world, and find joy in life is one of the best parts. He is a remarkable kid and every day he seems to learn something new. He has gotten so much better at tennis and soccer and, of course, that is great. The best part is just spending time with him. I love him and care so much about him. I might be slightly biased, but he is just so damn cool!
JE: Tell me more about your newest partnership with Equinox Hotels.
TF: It has been amazing. It gives me the opportunity to train hard and at the end of the day come back to the hotel and relax with the opportunity to stay focused. Equinox is like no other hotel I have ever experienced. I have ac- cess to a gym that would rival any professional training facility. This allows me to continue to train away from the "scene" of the US Open gym that can be crowded with players and some occasional drama. Equinox spared no expense and really took the time to think about what guests and athletes would need and enjoy. I feel at home there and, even when I am not competing, I can still come and train and use everything that the facility has to offer. Com- ing to Equinox Hotel always puts me in the right mindset.
JE: What do you think is the greatest misconception people have about professional tennis?
TF: I think people have a lot of misconceptions about professional tennis. The season is almost year-round, and we are playing tournaments every week. The big tournaments get the coverage, but we are not just sitting at home in-between. I guess the other big misconception is that we get paid to lose. While we do make money even if we don't win, we have to rank at the top of the sport to even be in the big tournaments. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say, "Wow, you get paid to lose?
I should become a professional tennis player." I know they don't mean any harm, but it takes hard work and sacrifice to rank high enough to "get paid to lose" and for the record, as professional athletes, none of us is in this sport wants to lose.
JE: What are your top three guilty pleasures?
TF: Oh, that's an easy one! Eating fast food, staying in bed all day, and watching television or YouTube videos. I guess they are all related as I could eat fast food in bed and watch my favorite programs, and that would be one hell of a great day!