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February 13, 2021

Taylor Fritz

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. An absolutely incredible match. Fans all around the world would have been treated to some amazing tennis. Talk about the match from your perspective.

TAYLOR FRITZ: You know, it was a tight, tight match all the way through. You know, the beginning I was in a lot of games to break, and, you know, I went down a break kind of early, and then got it back and had a really good look at 5-All to maybe get a break. But then in the tiebreaker he was, like, he was very, very good in the tiebreaker.

So, you know, and then chances to get it back in the second, started serving a little better after I went down a break in the second.

Third, you know, going routinely, and then he had the little stop/start, kind of slipped, and then obviously won the next two sets. Then as I said, he looked pretty good to me (smiling).

Q. What's your overriding emotion right now?

TAYLOR FRITZ: I make third round literally every single slam. I just want to make it to the fourth round. Like, it's so tough. I fought so hard and wanted it so bad, and it's just really tough to go out like that.

And, you know, I have to, you know, give credit. He was really -- he was really good in the fifth set, you know. Nothing like the third and the fourth sets.

It just sucks. It's just really tough coming so close. Again.

Q. You played really good in the fifth set, too. So what do you think was the difference?

TAYLOR FRITZ: I mean, he kept -- he was serving unbelievable in the fifth set. He was serving two first serves and barely really missing any, hitting the spots, serving faster, harder than he was before in the previous sets. I found it even tougher to return his serve.

Then much more pressured, as well, to hit a better return because he was stepping in and just cracking it so well and not missing. You know, he was making some mistakes, some errors in the third and fourth, and just cracking the ball and not really missing in the fifth. I didn't feel like I really had a good chance.

And then also just putting a lot of pressure on my serve with how he was attacking it. He was picking a side, and if he guessed the right side he just, like, just crushed the return.

It was, you know, that was tough to deal with and it was also obviously tough to deal with him all of a sudden moving fast and just like playing so much better from the third and the fourth. I mean, I should have -- I expected that. But I expected that if he was really, really injured he wouldn't have kept playing. I knew that he would come back strong in the fifth.

But, you know, it's tough.

Q. You expected that, but you could tell he was hurting, right, that he was injured? Is it hard to play against someone who is struggling with an injury on some level?

TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah, I mean, look, I think if you guys all watched the match, looked like he was struggling in the third and the fourth, and he didn't really look like he was struggling in the fifth. You know, when I hit a winner, he'd kind of, like, pull at it.

It's not like -- like, he looked fine in the fifth. Let's be honest. Maybe he fought through it, but I'm happy for him that he had such a good recovery and he's feeling a lot better, so...

Q. Frances pushed him to four sets, a tough match the other day, and you pushed him to five today. Obviously the Americans are looking for this sort of a breakthrough against these guys who are just so incredibly tough. What is it that you think, as you look at your game, you say you're so frustrated about not getting to the fourth round, what do you think it is with you guys that you just need to get that next step?

TAYLOR FRITZ: I mean, well, the fourth-round thing for me is I've had some pretty rough fourth rounds in my time, and then, you know, the winnable ones I had I had chances.

The bigger, you know, the grand scheme of things, I need to keep working, I need to get everything better. I need to get, like, my serve, for the first set and set and a half, it wasn't where it should have been for me. I was serving like 50-something percent and not hitting my spots. I was making too many forehand mistakes when I was trying to be the, you know, the aggressor in the rallies.

And, God, I've improved my movement a lot, but I have to keep working. I have to keep improving. You know, it's very motivating that we're so close, you know, we're so close.

But also, at the same time so far these guys are so good. You know, I definitely got a taste for why Novak is Novak in the first-set tiebreaker. These guys are so good. I have a lot of work to do.

Q. What was it like at 11:30 when you're in the midst of this epic match and they stop it so that everybody has to leave, make everybody leave?

TAYLOR FRITZ: I mean, to be honest, like, completely honest, it's absolutely ridiculous that at a Grand Slam match we're asked to leave the court for 10 minutes in the middle of the match, like, in the middle of the fourth -- was it fourth set?

Q. Yeah.

TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah, I mean, that shouldn't be a thing at a Grand Slam. You know, I understand the fact that Victoria is going back into lockdown and people have to go. If that's the case, then we shouldn't have played tonight if we weren't going to finish the match on time.

I mean, I don't, not like it really affect -- I mean, I guess not having fans there did I feel like hurt me because they were kind of pushing for me. But, you know, we still came back and I won the set. It's not like it made that big of a deal. I just think it's not really proper conditions to be playing a third round of a slam.

Q. I'm wondering what your thoughts were about the scream that Novak let out a couple of times at the end of the match and then his statement that he believes he has a muscle tear, what that says about him?

TAYLOR FRITZ: I mean, I don't know. I mean, obviously -- for me, like, I lost, I was upset. Like, we'll see what happens. We'll see if he plays.

You know, like obviously wasn't looking too good in the third and the fourth. Looked like -- I mean, he looked pretty good to me in the fifth. Like I said, anyone can watch the match and see, like, he was moving well and playing well in the fifth.

I don't know what to say. We'll see if he plays, like, if he can play like he played in the fifth, I don't see why he wouldn't play. He'll beat pretty much anyone.

Q. And then the scream? What your thoughts were when he let out those screams.

TAYLOR FRITZ: Like, what about it? I mean, I tried to, like, not get pumped up and not, like, scream during the third and the fourth and the fifth just out of respect, you know. I thought he was injured.

But obviously it meant a lot to him, so I'm happy for him.

Q. Great match, and as a member of the Serbian media community, I applaud you for your remarkable behavior towards Novak at this match. You said some very important things, and I wanted to hear your opinion on the mental strength of these, the big three or, you know, whatever you want to call them. How do you think that this comes about? How do they fortify themselves mentally in such a way that they can come through, you know, matches like this? How do you see this happening for you somewhere down the line?

TAYLOR FRITZ: I think, you know, I think a lot of it is just, like, the desire and the passion and wanting it, and I don't think it's something that these guys develop. I think it's something that you're born with. They're just kind of -- they're built differently.

I think that I want it, I think I want it just as bad, and I have the passion and desire just as much, but I still need to develop my game so I can show it. You know, it doesn't matter how bad you want it if you're not better than the other person.

So I think these guys have just, like, they just want it. Like I said, they are kind of just built differently, and it's something that people have or they don't have, and it makes, that's what makes someone a champion.

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