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After a breakout 2016, Taylor Fritz will look to continue climbing the Emirates ATP Rankings by improving his return of serve.

Taylor Fritz's Path To Another Banner Season In 2017

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows where Fritz can improve next season

In August 2015, the spotlight had not yet discovered 17-year-old American Taylor Fritz.

He was No. 685 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and had lost in the first round of US Open qualifying to No. 123 Luca Vanni 6-3, 6-3. Fritz won only three points against the Italian’s first serve, four against his second serve, and was not able to generate a single break point.

And then everything changed. The American won 11 straight matches and strung together four impressive results in four months:

  • Oct. 2015: Won $100K Challenger, Sacramento, California

  • Oct. 2015: Won $50K Challenger, Fairfield, California

  • Nov. 2015: Finalist $50K Challenger, Champaign, Illinois

  • Jan. 2016: Won $75K Challenger, Onkaparinga, Australia

Fritz’s ranking jumped from No. 685 to No. 155 during that run, and the spotlight is now well and truly shining in his direction as he finished the season ranked No. 76, slightly down from a career high of No. 53 in August.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Californian’s meteoric rise highlights the strengths that got him this far this quickly, and also what improvements Fritz needs to make in 2017 to keep feeding the steep growth curve.

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First-Serve Prowess

For 2016, Fritz finished 52nd in the Serve Leaders category of the ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS, powered by the Infosys Information Platform, including 30th in first-serve points won, 73.2%, and 17th in average aces per match, 8.4. His first serve is a bomb.


When he lost to then-World No. 5 Stan Wawrinka in four sets in the opening round of Wimbledon this year, the American's fastest serve was 135 mph. Wawrinka topped out at 129 mph.

Focus On Returning

This is where Fritz will find his growth in 2017, as most maturing players do. In the 2016 season, Fritz fared 66th best in the Return Leaders category of the ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS. He didn't break the Top 50 in any of the four return statistics that comprise the Return Leaders category.

The below chart shows six point scores and the percentage chance of breaking at each scoreline for Fritz and fellow #NextGen players Kyle Edmund, World No. 45, and Alexander Zverev, No. 24 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

2016 Season: Percentage Chance Of Breaking Serve By Point Score

 Point Score (When Returning)   Taylor Fritz  Kyle Edmund  Alexander Zverev
 15/0  12%  15%  15%
 0/15   32%  31%  41%
 15/15   24%  24%  28%
 30/30   26%  32%  33%
 30/40   47%  50%  63%
 40/30   11%  13%  12%

Break Points Saved

Fritz was 21st on the ATP World Tour in 2016 in break points saved at 64 per cent. Behind his first serve, that percentage elevated to an extremely high 77 per cent (125/163), which is even higher than World No. 1 Andy Murray and World No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who were both at 74 per cent.

But behind second serves, both Murray (56 per cent) and Djokovic (57 per cent) were well above Fritz’s 47 per cent, identifying another snapshot of current vulnerability.

Fritz turned 19 just over a month ago (Oct. 28), and is still very much putting the pieces of the puzzle together in his developmental pathway. Look out world when this rough draft starts looking like a masterpiece.