By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday January 24, 2024
Taylor Fritz played some absolutely incredible tennis in his quarterfinal with Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. The American No.1 famously saved the first 15 break points he faced against the 24-time Slam champion, after all. And yet, it was far from being enough to really threaten the 10-time Australian Open champion.
That is the reality that Fritz had to face on Tuesday night in Melbourne, after falling to Djokovic in four sets to fall to 0-9 lifetime against the living legend.
Despite the disappointing numbers, Fritz saw progress in his performance, and leaves the 2024 Australian Open with some hope that he could one day score a win over Djokovic.
“I look at [9-0] and I see, okay, there’s only one match [among them] where I really feel like I played well,” Fritz said, adding that nowadays he is a much more complete player.
“I feel like I’m a better player, he said. “Yeah, the record sounds very discouraging, but I’m constantly improving as a player. I know that if I play the way that I played the first two sets, if I bring that level for five sets, then, you know, it’s possible.”
Fritz’s biggest regret from the 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 loss? Not serving better as the match wore on.
“I really needed my serve to go for me in the third and the fourth, and I just had some games where I’d make first serves, but the spots on the serves would be awful,” the 26-year-old said. “It can’t be like that against him. He’ll just return it.”
Fritz said learning to cope with the draining nature of such a physical match is another thing he’ll have to work on. The first two sets alone were close to two and a half hours.
Taylor Fritz tries to explain what it’s like to play a 10-year older Novak Djokovic in a Bo5 match in a grand slam. The circumstances change but the outcome is always the same. Novak Djokovic is quite simply incredible anyway you look at it. #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/3j0uM1Px2i
— Dandan Gallagher (@dandangallagher) January 23, 2024
“It was two sets, but I’ve played [what felt like] four sets in that time – It was two-and-a-half hours of really physical, like, really physical tennis,” he said.
“It’s tough to prepare for something like that, especially when I’ve had an offseason with just injuries and trying to get healthy and haven’t really been able to put as much time as I wanted to into just the workload on the court and in the gym,” Fritz…