Taylor Fritz earned a giant season-opening win on Sunday in opposition to Felix Auger-Aliassime on the ATP Cup. One of many perks of being at this occasion is he had his coach — and Staff United States captain — Michael Russell by his aspect by the roller-coaster of his comeback in opposition to the Canadian.
All through the match, the printed feed confirmed Fritz and Russell chatting throughout changeovers about match technique, techniques and extra of their nation’s Staff Zone. Not a changeover glided by that Fritz was not throwing an thought or query on the former World No. 60.
“It was nice. It was a number of enjoyable. It’s nice having the entire staff there within the zone so we might all speak to one another and with the ability to talk with the participant after which having stats obtainable should you want it,” Russell mentioned. “It’s a singular expertise, however I’ve loved it. I believe it’s nice. I’d like to see it in additional occasions, the place there may be extra on-court teaching or on-court involvement between the participant and coach or staff member.”
This wasn’t the primary time Fritz has proven his analytical aspect. On the 2018 Intesa Sanpaolo Subsequent Gen ATP Finals, he typically queried his coach by way of headset.
“Taylor may be very communicative, very analytical, which is an effective factor after which typically it might be slightly completely different, as a result of he’s so communicative,” Russell mentioned. “He says no matter is on his thoughts, no matter he’s considering and he all the time questions every thing that I recommend, which could be good as a result of if he doesn’t agree with it, or if it’s one thing that he desires to element additional, then we now have an open dialogue about it.
“However I respect that. I’d relatively have extra communication than much less communication.”
In accordance with Fritz, these items occur whether or not he has entry to his coach or not.
“Once I cannot speak to my coach, actually the identical issues are simply sort of occurring in my very own head,” Fritz mentioned. “Nevertheless it’s good to have somebody there, as a result of then I am going to inform them what I am considering after which sort of get that affirmation.”
Outdoors of a staff occasion just like the ATP Cup, Fritz is in opposition to on-court teaching as a result of he feels his thoughts might be a weapon, similar to his forehand and different components of his sport.
“I believe a giant a part of tennis is with the ability to strategise and perceive what is going on on within the match,” Fritz mentioned. “I believe tennis is a person sport and I believe an enormous a part of it’s sort of doing these items and figuring it out by your self.”
Picture Credit score: Dan Peled/Tennis Australia
The Staff Zone was priceless for Fritz after he let slip 4 consecutive set factors at 6/2 within the first-set tie-break. Russell was there to assist him stay optimistic regardless of the frustration of dropping the opener.
“Clearly he was annoyed and disenchanted that he didn’t win the primary set. He had a number of probabilities being up fairly massive in that tie-break,” Russell mentioned. “However I mentioned, ‘Look, it’s one set down and slightly bit extra of a problem, however you’ve achieved the health and also you’re prepared. Simply have begin right here and hold the vitality up with positivity and have second set.’”
There’s additionally a pill within the Staff Zone that permits captains and gamers to look at match statistics in actual time. Russell mentioned that they didn’t use the pill as a lot throughout Isner’s win in opposition to Brayden Schnur, however Fritz was significantly interested in serving numbers.
“Often throughout a match you don’t wish to get so concerned within the stats,” Russell mentioned. “As a result of then you definately begin second-guessing your self and it’s extra of the psychological issue that performs a component.”
Fritz’s victory clinched the US’ first-ever ATP Cup win. The People will subsequent play Germany on Tuesday at Ken Rosewall Area.
“Once we performed in 2020, we did not win a match, so first win for Staff USA on the ATP Cup,” Fritz mentioned. “It feels good.”