"I was just the poor guy Tommy Paul was beating down" - Taylor Fritz recounts compatriot's hilarious bet with Frances Tiafoe before their first clash

Taylor Fritz (L), Tommy Paul (R) and Frances Tiafoe (inset)
Taylor Fritz (L), Tommy Paul (R) and Frances Tiafoe (inset)

Following his title win at the 2024 Delray Beach Open, Taylor Fritz shared a humorous anecdote about his compatriot Tommy Paul's bet with Frances Tiafoe before their first-ever match.

On Monday, February 19, Fritz defeated Paul 6-2, 6-3 to win the Delray Beach Open title. With this win, he became just the second player in tournament history to win the ATP 250 event consecutively, a feat previously achieved by Jason Stoltenberg in 1996 and 1997.

Fritz defeated the likes of Nuno Borges, Rinky Hijikata, and fellow American Marcos Giron in the semifinals. Throughout the tournament, he displayed remarkable consistency by not losing a single set on his way to the championship match, ultimately clinching the title in straight sets.

With this win, Fritz secured his seventh ATP Tour title and continued his streak of triumphs, having won his last six finals.

Following his win, during the post-match on-court interview, while talking to tennis journalist Blair Henley, Taylor Fritz recalled his early playing days, playing tennis alongside Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe.

Taylor Fritz recalled his initial meeting with Paul from their younger days when they weren't close friends, admitting that Paul was better than him back then. The World No. 10 revealed that Paul and Tiafoe had a friendly bet going on to see who could finish a match faster. Fritz recalled a match against Paul where he was defeated quickly, as the latter played faster to win the bet against Tiafoe.

"I have a funny story the first time that Tommy [Paul] and I ever played each other. He didn’t know me, we weren’t friends at the time. We were really young and he was way better than me. He got called on court at the same time as Frances [Tiafoe], I think and they had a bet with each other to see who could win faster. So I was just the poor guy that he was beating down on," Fritz said.

Taylor Fritz after winning Delray Beach Open: "All the pressure was on me this week defending the title"

Taylor Fritz speaking to the press at the 2024 United Cup
Taylor Fritz speaking to the press at the 2024 United Cup

Following his win over Tommy Paul at the Delray Beach Open final, Taylor Fritz stated that he knew he had a chance to defend his title and thus he needed to do things right. He revealed that despite not being at his full capacity following the United Cup and the Australian Open, he felt confident and ready to compete in Florida.

"I had a long list of things I needed to do well. I think there were some questions about how I was physically feeling,” Taylor Fritz said. “I didn't play one of the rubbers at Davis Cup. I wasn't feeling amazing after Australia, so it's great to come here and feel like I'm moving and physically I'm definitely there and can keep playing."

Fritz acknowledged the challenging conditions of the final, with rain affecting the match, but he embraced the pressure to defend his title and was pleased to come out victorious.

“I don't need to take any time off to recover and mentally, it was tough conditions, especially today. I kind of just powered through it. All the pressure was on me this week defending the title and I was able to get through it,” he added.