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"Taylor Fritz is leading the American men and setting the bar higher for guys like Frances and Tommy Paul" โ€“ American sportswriter Chris Oddo

Taylor Fritz with Frances Tiafoe (L) and with Tommy Paul (R).
Taylor Fritz with Frances Tiafoe (L) and with Tommy Paul (R)

Taylor Fritz is playing the role of a leader and is setting an example to follow for fellow American rising stars such as Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul, believes leading sportswriter Chris Oddo.

The American tennis journalist feels that Fritz's rise and stellar results in 2022 have given his fellow American male players a belief that they too can break the barrier and establish themselves among the best.

Fritz won three titles this season, including the Indian Wells Masters and Tokyo Open, reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals and ended the season inside the top 10 of the ATP rankings. The 25-year-old also qualified for his maiden ATP Finals and reached the semifinals there.

Speaking on a recent episode of the Tennis Channel Inside-In podcast, Oddo praised Fritz for leading the way in American men's tennis. He feels that the likes of Tiafoe, Paul, and other Americans now believe that they can beat the top-ranked players in the biggest tournaments, and they have Fritz to thank for that.

"What I love about Taylor is that he's leading the American men right now and he's setting the bar higher for guys like Frances and Tommy Paul," Oddo said.
"I think all these guys in the 24, 25-year-old age range are realizing that it's possible for them and that the tectonic plates of tennis are shifting. There's going to be more opportunities at the top and they want to be a part of it, and they're believing that they can be a part of it, and it's all thanks to Taylor Fritz this year," the American added.

Oddo made special mention of Fritz's win over Rafael Nadal in the Indian Wells final in March to clinch his maiden Masters 1000 title. He opined that Fritz carried the confidence earned by beating Nadal in a big final throughout the season.

"That (win over Nadal in Indian Wells) was a big pillar of belief for him. He got two more titles, got his first (ATP) 500 title along the way in Tokyo. He then took advantage of an opportunity at the ATP Finals and played great. He got some massive wins under his belt," Oddo expressed.

"No lack of belief in facing a legend like that in the ATP Finals" โ€“ Chris Oddo praises Taylor Fritz's performance against Rafael Nadal at ATP Finals 2022

Taylor Fritz at the Nitto ATP Finals - Day One
Taylor Fritz at the Nitto ATP Finals - Day One

Chris Oddo highlighted another Taylor Fritz victory over Rafael Nadal this season, which came in the ATP Finals a couple of weeks ago.

Oddo was impressed by the fact that Fritz sensed a strong opportunity to beat a relatively weaker Nadal in the ATP Finals and made full use of it, showing no lack of belief against the Spanish great.

"I love the win over Nadal," Oddo said, adding, "He (Taylor Fritz) just knew that he was going to face a Nadal that was beatable and he played like it the whole match, he dictated, and it was just so impressive. There's no lack of belief in facing a legend like that in the ATP Finals, Taylor just came in with the attitude that, 'I'm going to win this match,' and he did."

Taylor Fritz started the 2022 season ranked no. 23 in the ATP rankings and ended inside the top 10, which is another testament to his impressive rise.

After an intense tour-level season, he also competed in the Davis Cup Finals earlier this week, winning his match against Lorenzo Musetti in the USA's quarterfinal tie against Italy. However, the USA lost the knockout tie.

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Edited by Virat Deswal
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