Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Madison Keys and Jessica Pegula got off to a fast start at the Australian Open, with the quartet losing just three sets between them in seven matches.
It follows their success at the United Cup earlier this month, when the ATP and WTA stars joined forces to take Team United States to the title in the inaugural mixed-teams event.
Throughout the 11-day tournament, the Americans shared jokes about being cooped up on the court as they built strong team dynamics in Sydney. Now in Melbourne, the quartet continues to support each other, with Fritz and Pegula drawing locks on camera after wins at the major.
“[You] should just stay locked. It’s the whole thing with the United Cup boys. Just stay locked up,” said Tiafoe, explaining the term “locked up” as being “in the zone.” “I was joking about it when the United Cup boys asked them before the game, ‘Are you locked?’ It’s definitely become a thing. It’s so funny how true it is because when you stay between the lines it’s amazing how well you play. It’s funny with everyone.”
FYI I tried to draw a 🔒 emoji…. I just forgot the very important fact that I am bad at drawing
— Taylor Fritz (@Taylor_Fritz97) January 17, 2023
Tiafoe is known on and off the court for his energetic and relaxed personality. However, it was the 24-year-old who coined the term ‘locked’ during the United Cup, which caused his teammates to laugh.
“It’s funny that it’s coming from me because everyone knows how I do my business. I’m very open and just joking. When I say it, it just sounds funny,” Tiafoe said. “So then it became something where if Frances can lock, everybody has to lock. That’s pretty much how it all came about… We’re all doing well, and it’s starting to become good team camaraderie.”
Keys had five United Cup victories at the start of the season and has backed that up in Melbourne on his way to the third round.
The 27-year-old feels the mixed-team event was the perfect way to start her year.
“I think I speak for everyone, it really was the best two weeks of my entire life. It was so much fun,” says Keys. “Obviously, winning is the icing on the cake and everything. To have the seven other great people and then all of our teams together, it was just a great group of people. I think it was the perfect way to start the year.
“We had so much fun. I’m really happy that we kept talking literally every day. We still have dinner together and stuff. So I think it’s been great for all of us to carry that out beyond the event.