World No. 19 Taylor Fritz will never forget the first time he played Roger Federer. Fritt, 24, clashed Federer for the first time six years ago in Stuttgart. "It is [both fun and intimidating to face players I watched growing up].
When I was 18 and playing Roger Federer for the first time, it was like, “Wow!” I literally grew up watching this guy beat everybody. It’s pretty crazy," Fritz told CultureMap Dallas, as quoted on Sportskeeda.
Fritz was a set away from pulling off an upset when he first met Federer but fell short in the end as the Swiss claimed a 6-4 5-7 6-4 win. "It was close in the third set and I thought I had a chance to win. I think the thought of possibly beating Federer that day is what did me in.
I lost the match. But it was an amazing experience. You have to take a step back and remember who these players are and what they mean to tennis," Fritz said.
Fritz clashed Federer one more time
Three years later, Fritz met Federer in the Australian Open third round.
Their second match didn't feature any drama as Federer beat Fritz in straight sets. Meanwhile, Fritz has accomplished his dream of being the American No. 1. Being the No. 1 American has always been a dream of mine. Sometimes I have to stop and think about it.
I realize that it’s something I’ve worked my whole life toward, but I want to be ranked a lot higher," Fritz said. "I’m happy being the No. 1 American, but I’m not happy being No. 19 in the world."
Fritz hopes to soon break into the top-10 so the United States once again have a top-10 player. "I’d like to see an American at least in the Top 10 soon. I think we’re moving in the right direction," Fritz said.