World No. 19 Taylor Fritz will never forget the first time he played Roger Federer. The 24-year-old Fritz met Federer for the first time six years ago in Stuttgart. "It's [both fun and intimidating to play against players I grew up with].
When he was 18 years old and playing Roger Federer for the first time, he was like, 'Wow!' I literally grew up watching this guy beat everyone. He's pretty crazy," Fritz told CultureMap Dallas, quoted in Sportskeeda.
Fritz came within a set of an upset when he first faced Federer, but ultimately fell short as the Swiss cruised to a 6-4 5-7 6-4 win. "He was close in the third set and I thought he had a chance to win. I think the thought of possibly beating Federer that day is what got 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. Three years later, Fritz faced Federer in the third round of the Australian Open.
His second match did not present any drama as Federer beat Fritz in straight sets. Meanwhile, Fritz has achieved his dream of being the American No. 1. "Being the American No. 1 has always been a dream of mine. Sometimes I have to stop and think about it.
I realize it's something I've worked for all my life, but I want to be ranked much higher." Fritz said. "I'm happy to be the number 1 American, but I'm not happy to be the number 19 in the world."
Fritz hopes to break into the top 10 soon so that the United States will once again have a top 10 player.
John McEnroe speaks about Federer
Tennis legend John McEnroe recently said he would love to see Roger Federer get back to the court soon.
He also heaped praise on the Swiss' style of play, calling him the "most beautiful player" he has ever seen. "It goes without saying that anytime we are at an event where Roger is not playing we miss him," McEnroe said.
"He is the classiest player and the most beautiful player I have seen on a court. As a fan I would love to see Roger around. As far as the future, he's 40 years old," McEnroe said. "He’s had numerous surgeries on his knee, there’s a lot of wear and tear, it would be unbelievable if he could come back and get close to the level that he was at.
I thought the same thing five years ago when I was coaching [Milos] Raonic and Roger walked off after the Wimbledon semi-finals [in 2016] and was limping and didn’t play for six months. Then he won the Australian Open."