THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How does that one rank in the emotional world here?
TAYLOR FRITZ: You know, that was just a really tough one. It obviously sucks to compete so hard and come back the way I did in the second-set tiebreak and saved the match points just to double fault it away.
You know, it sucks, and it’s probably the biggest match I have played in my career as far as, you know, make a quarterfinals of a Masters, points, and all that.
So, you know, it’s really tough to lose that match.
Q. How do you re-gather yourself after having a set point in the second set and then losing that? Your emotions have to be up and down, I assume. How do you handle that?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah. It was tough to manage, because I feel like when I broke him that game before, I started to get a good feel from the baseline of — started kind of getting in on the baseline. I felt like the first set he was just dominating me from the back and the only way I could really win points was just hitting a big shot or hitting a big serve.
I felt pretty good going into that game to serve it out. That’s when it started getting just insanely windy. I just didn’t manage the conditions well, that game. After I got broken that game, I just had to make sure I didn’t just fully collapse and get broken again.
I told myself to make sure I got it to a tiebreaker. And then we got it to the tiebreaker and, you know, after the first four points of just missing, I decided, you know, with the wind I couldn’t try to — I couldn’t keep trying to hit through the wind. It’s too tough to time the ball and hit big shots when it’s just going everywhere.
So I kind of changed my strategy for the conditions. Just made more balls, and, you know, that’s how I was able to turn it around.
Q. Despite the disappointment, you must be pretty proud of your effort in this tournament, no?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Yeah, it definitely hurts right now because I’m obviously thinking of how I could have gone farther and, I mean, really, how close I was to going further, you know. It hurts even more knowing that I had that Love-30 and the break point to go and serve for the match.
It stings a lot, but you do have to take away positives, you know. I made the round of 16 for the first time, and I think I’m playing very good tennis.
This year for me has been very consistent. I have had a lot of strong results. And I’m off to a really good start for the year, and I think I can build on this and make this more of a regular thing, you know. I feel confident that I’m not playing, like, out of my mind or anything like I was doing when I was 18 to produce good results.
I feel like I’m playing within myself and having these results. So I feel a lot more confident in backing up and becoming more consistent on tour with this kind of stuff, a lot more confident than I was doing it when I was younger.
Q. Are you trying to improve more technically or mentally? Do you think that the next step for you, is it more about improving your shots, improving your tennis, or more about becoming more consistent and taking the opportunities that come to you?
TAYLOR FRITZ: It’s both. You know, you really have to, in tennis, you really have to take your opportunities. Today was an opportunity for me to get 180 points instead of 90 points, to make quarterfinals of a Masters instead of round of 16.
Like I said, there is positives to take out, but it stings not going that extra bit and doing what you think you could have. It’s tough, you know. Every week everybody is a loser except one person. (Smiling).
I think moving forward I’m looking to improve a lot of my shots, you know. I think when you improve your shots you get stronger mentally just because you have more confidence in what you’re doing on the court and you know you can hit certain shots in certain moments. So I think it’s about getting everything better so I can trust myself in those moments, you know.
Today it was windy and it was a very fine line between do I just push the ball and make it, or do I go for a little extra but I’m not sure if I can make it because just it’s windy and I could miss it.
So I think I’m going to be working on a little bit of everything. I’m always picking up little mental things and things that have helped me on the court through Paul, but definitely think I need to just improve everything, obviously.
Q. When you’re not playing, do you go out and watch some of the matches, some of the guys like Federer and Rafa, and see how they handle those tough situations? Do you learn from them?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Not really, to be honest. I feel like the way those guys do things in the big moments, like, that’s the stuff that just can’t be taught. I feel like just being clutch in big moments and handling those big moments the best, just how they handle it, I just think that’s something that can’t really be taught. I think that’s what makes a lot of champions champions.
I think you can learn from how they, like, how their body language is and how they approach situations. But actually doing it, I just think is something that it just can’t be taught.
And usually I feel pretty good, as well, in those moments where I can come up with something and play my best tennis when it matters most.
Q. So Alexander Zverev is said by many to be the leading prospect among the very young players. He loses a tough five-setter to Chung in Melbourne, and then Federer goes up to him and says, Hey, relax, don’t be so hard on yourself. I didn’t reach a quarter until I was 22. Talk about the process of gaining confidence, of some day getting in that place where you are clutch in the big moments.
TAYLOR FRITZ: It’s experience, of course. You know, it’s definitely experience, getting in those moments more. I think the more you’re in those moments, the more comfortable you will get.
But I think it’s a fine line between, you know, telling yourself, you know, I’m young, I have time. Then that can also obviously be a bad thing because you’ll just keep telling yourself, I have time, I have time, I have time, and then eventually you really won’t. I think that we’re all striving to be the best we can, so we will get upset when we lose matches even though we do have time.
I think that, yeah, Zverev is leading the group. He’s had some amazing results, and he’s an incredible player. He has nothing to be upset about, even though obviously he wants to push even farther, do even better, like we all do.
Q. What makes Coric such a tough player?
TAYLOR FRITZ: He’s an extremely good competitor. You know, on the court he fights harder than almost anybody. He really doesn’t give you anything on the court. He doesn’t give you much. You have to earn a lot of points. You don’t get too many freebies. Today I probably got more than normal just because of how windy it was on the court. It was tough to make balls.
But, you know, he really doesn’t give you anything, and he fights for every point.
Q. Another young player, an American, is Frances. You have almost exactly the same ranking. Could you just talk a minute about his game, what makes him tough and unique?
TAYLOR FRITZ: I mean, what makes him unique is his personality, of course. He’s really an electric guy. You know, you always know when he’s in the room, because he’s just laughing and talking, cracking jokes with everybody. I think that’s what makes him so unique.
But, you know, on the court he’s got a dangerous game. You know, he can do a bit of everything. He’s fast, he’s aggressive, has a big forehand, has a big serve. He’s got everything.
So it’s exciting to see that I guess him and I are moving up the rankings and doing well. So I think that’s definitely something we will see a lot of between me and Frances competing against each other, even though I guess you’d call a rivalry, but I don’t really think so because we’re good friends.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2018-03-14 20:53:00 GMT