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'We Want to Be Where He's at' - Why Tommy Paul and His Compatriots Want What Taylor Fritz Has

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday March 12, 2023

The state of American men’s tennis has been a hot topic of conversation ever since Taylor Fritz broke out at Indian Wells last year, defeating Rafael Nadal in the final to become the first American man to win the title in the California desert since Andre Agassi in 2001.

Tennis Express

Since then things have steamrolled and the American men continue to make waves across the tour. Frances Tiafoe picked up the torch and reached the semifinals at last year’s US Open, becoming the first American to achieve that feat since 2006.

And in January it was Tommy Paul’s turn. The 25-year-old reached the semis and soon after made his Top 20 debut.

This week at Indian Wells, where Paul is into the third round, Paul talked about the impact that Fritz’s success has had on the group of rising men, which now counts ten players inside the ATP’s Top 50.

“I mean, he's had an unbelievable past year,” Paul said in his post-match presser after defeating Jan-Lennard Struff to set a third-round clash with Hubert Hurkacz. “He's been the most consistent of the Americans and had the best results of the Americans.

“That's why he is where he is. That's why he's No. 1 American and that's why he's Top 5.”

Fritz says that facing Fritz can be a nightmare, and he believes that the American has drastically improved his movement, making him an even more viable talent on tour in recent years.

“Playing him is not always fun,” Paul, who recently defeated Fritz in Acapulco to improve to 2-2 lifetime against him, said. “It's constant pressure. He's got a great serve. He's improved so much, to me. I think the thing he's improved the most is probably his movement. He has good defense now. I think when he first came on tour he always had the offense but the defense maybe lacked a little bit – now he's moving better and he's getting out of the corners better. He's super dangerous to any single player in the world.”

All that said, Paul and his compatriots are dead set on taking the title of No.1 American from Fritz. “Obviously, you know, like me, Frances, Sebi, all the Americans, we want to be where he's at and we want to take that spot from him. That's what we want. That's where we want to be,” he said.