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March 10, 2018

Taylor Fritz

Indian Wells, California

T. FRITZ/A. Rublev

6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You're probably going to say this for every match now, but that feels like another big win out there.
TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah. It definitely wasn't easy. We're very familiar with each other's games, and I knew it was going to be a close match. All of our matches are always close, back in the juniors.

And there is a lot of big hitting, but I feel like I got a lot of momentum and played really well in a lot of the big moments of the match. I was able to pull it out.

Q. I know this is the court that's close to home, but what is it about this place that does seem to bring out the best in you?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Well, I mean, anything about -- I mean, if anyone was at the match, they could see how much the crowd helped me, you know. I got to play with a lot of emotions and heart just because the crowd was pumping me up so much. They were cheering so heavily in my favor, and it really got me excited, pumped up.

And not to mention as well I've played so many tournaments as a kid here. I'm just so used to the courts here, as well. I just feel comfortable. You kind of just feel that sense of comfort and confidence at certain places.

Q. There is a whole gang of you coming through, age group. Is there something a little extra on the matches when you play each other?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Kind of. I guess we both know that, I mean, more people are going to be paying attention to that match and watching it as opposed to just a regular match, because people do want to see the young guys playing each other.

Especially with the ATP pushing the NextGen thing, I think there is more focus on that match, especially. I was kind of surprised we were on Stadium 2 today as well with all the big names playing. So I think that's the NextGen thing being pushed.

I'm happy to get out of that. But I just tried to go into it like it was any other match obviously. That's kind of what you have to do, because I guess if you start thinking too much about, like, it's so important. We're young guys playing each other, everyone is watching, then you might play a little nervous, tentative, and you might not get to play your game.

Q. Can you talk about working with Annacone? He's the type of smart guy, as you know, who won't just work with anybody. Do you feel this is a confidence vote for you that you're the kind of guy who's going to go places?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah, I know he's not very quick to start coaching players. I know he's a very high-profile coach, as well. But I feel like because he was working with me -- I mean, he's been working with me for part of this year, you know, before this tournament, as well, but we just kind of made it official, you know.

So I think to have him working with me, it does show that he -- at least I like to think that he sees something special, maybe something that he thinks I can be a good player or stuff he thinks I can improve on.

He said it when we first started trying it out, you know, he was only going to work with me if he thought he could help me. And I think how I have started this year is a lot of proof that what we have been working on has been helping, and I have been improving a lot with him.

Q. Your serves, looks like you're really relaxed when you're serving. Looked like your serves were really popping today in general. Do you think that was really the biggest difference?
TAYLOR FRITZ: You know, today felt very -- like, it was kind of overcast today. I didn't feel like the ball was moving as much as it does a lot of days. So I felt like I was able to get onto his serve more than I maybe would have on a faster, quicker day.

So it made it even more important for me to make sure I hit my spots on my serve, because I also felt the same way. My serve wasn't going through the court as much as it can.

So I had to really make sure I served the best I could. And I think at some important moments in the match it really made the difference, me hitting my spot on the serve or hitting an ace to get me out of pressure. It's really the best thing I have when it's a big moment in the match.

So I think today it just felt good. It definitely was working under pressure on the big points.

Q. Another young player who's doing well here is your fellow American, Ernesto Escobedo. Can you talk about him? He really looked impressive against Tiafoe who is a tough competitor.
TAYLOR FRITZ: Ernesto and I practice a lot and train a lot because we are both in Carson. So I think I know him as much as really know any of the guys. He's an extremely hard worker.

During the offseason, the USTA had us doing fitness together a lot, because we are both so competitive. We both wanted to continually outwork the other person and do better than the other person. So I definitely think we build off each other a little bit, and we do build off each other in practice and in the gym just because of our competitive nature. He's been improving a lot lately, and he's definitely making a lot of improvements. You know, it's good to see.

Q. I don't see you in the doubles here. Do you not prefer the doubles, or what's the story there?
TAYLOR FRITZ: My ranking doesn't get in. A lot of people probably don't know this, but me and Frances Tiafoe applied for a wildcard, and I think that would have been a really fun team, but maybe another year (smiling).

Q. Hopefully?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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