Fritz Fired-Up, rested for Turin | TBEN | Tennis

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When the Nitto ATP Finals groups were released, Taylor Fritz’s eyes turned to a Sunday night clash with Rafael Nadal. It will be Fritz’s third meeting this season against the 22-time champion.

In March, the American broke Nadal’s personal best of 20 games and won his first ATP Masters 1000 title on home soil in Indian Wells. Three and a half months later, the Spaniard ousted Fritz in a dramatic five-setter in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

“Playing Rafa is a big deal,” Fritz said. “The match we had at Wimbledon was very close. There were highlights between the two games we played [after Indian Wells] and lows [following Wimbledon].”


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The 25-year-old went on to amass two more titles, Eastbourne and Tokyo, achieving a record 43-19 in 2022. Last month, Fritz climbed to a career-high No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings and is now set to make a strong debut at the Nitto ATP Finals.

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“When I started the year, my first target was Top 10,” said Fritz. “After how the year started, I thought, ‘I’m definitely in a good position to make it here’ [Turin]’. It became a goal of mine, I’m excited to be here.”

Fritz and Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime are the only singles debutants in Turin this week. They aim to become the third player in the past six years to win the Nitto ATP Finals on debut (Grigor Dimitrov, ’17, Stefanos Tsitsipas, ’19).

Fritz, an eight-time quarterfinalist this year, relaxed ahead of the season finale to ensure his body would be in top shape to play at least three and possibly five games at the event. After an early exit at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris, Fritz traveled to a Swiss resort before arriving at the Pala Alpitour.

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“I went on a nice three-day vacation to relax, make my body feel good,” Fritz said. “I’m going there [Turin] the day the site was opened, Monday. Now I’m just training and preparing.”

The California-born American is the first American to play singles at the coveted season finale since John Isner in 2018. When Fritz was asked on media day what his goals were for the week, he didn’t back down: He wants to be crowned champion.

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“To win [is my goal]!” said Fritz, laughing. “I think what makes all the people here who they are is that everyone goes to the event believing they can win. Of course I want to put on a good show, but like everyone else, I’m here to win the event.”

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Should Fritz claim the title, he would be the first American to triumph at the prestigious year-end event since Pete Sampras in 1999.

Fritz will participate in the Groene Groep together with Nadal, Auger-Aliassime and Casper Ruud. The Nitto ATP Finals will take place from November 13-20.