Taylor Fritz on finishing inside the top 10: ‘I feel like I belong’

Taylor Fritz in action

Taylor Fritz believes he has proved this year that he can compete with the best in the business, but it is now about making sure that he stays in the top 10 of the ATP Rankings.

The American started the year just outside the top 20, but by March he was up to a career-high of No 13 after winning his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells with victory over Rafael Nadal in the final.

He then won a third career title as he lifted the Eastbourne International trophy in June before reaching the quarter-final of a Grand Slam for the first time at Wimbledon.

After helping Team World to win the Laver Cup for the first time in September, he won his first ATP 500 title, the Japan Open, to climb to a career-high No 8 in the rankings.

Fritz also qualified for the season-ending ATP Finals and he made it to the semi-finals in his debut campaign, losing against eventual champion Novak Djokovic two tight tie-breakers on Saturday.

Asked if he thought he belongs, the world No 9 replied: “It’s definitely not, I guess, easy to be in the top 10, to accumulate all the points. There is, I guess, added stress to produce the consistent results that you need to stay in it,” he said.

“I absolutely feel like I belong. I think that I’ve proved that I belong in the top 10 and I belong here. I just need to keep working hard.

“Fortunately for me I think there’s a lot of positives to take out of this year where I finished. I finished where I did and I missed pretty much the whole clay-court season, didn’t have any training going into the beginning of the hard-court season. I was dealing with injuries, and I still was able to produce a really solid year.

“I’m just excited to kind of get back to work, keep improving, next year look to cement my spot even more.”

Fritz is off to Spain this week for the Davis Cup quarter-finals as the United States will take on Italy on Thursday.

Although the team tournament is not considered a big event in the US, Fritz hopes to help the 32-time champions to win another title.

“It’s not as big of a deal for people in the US maybe. If we were to win it, hopefully people would care,” he said. “We’re still, all of us, I’ve talked to all of the guys on the team now, like, we’re all going there with full intentions to try and win it. We want to win it.

“So, yeah, obviously right now not really thinking about it, but give me like a day or two and I’ll be there and I’ll be locked in and we’ll be ready to try and win it.”

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