Fritz Mixes Business & Pleasure With Esports
Most 22-year-olds haven’t even started thinking about investing, but Taylor Fritz made a groundbreaking move by becoming the first professional tennis player to invest in the rapidly growing esports industry.
The American, an avid gamer himself, concluded his career-best 2019 season by partnering with ReTKGlobal. The company owns several professional Esports teams and Fritz has tested his skills against some of the world’s best.
“I always thought that the esports market was going to be big. I thought that it was a good time [to invest] and an opportunity presented itself, so I went for it,” Fritz told ATPTour.com. "I’ve watched a lot of the London Royal Ravens in the Call of Duty League and seen some of their pro players play in other games. I’ve gotten to play with some of those guys in public matches, so that’s been a lot of fun.
”There are some similarities to being a professional gamer and a professional tennis player because if you want to be good at anything, it takes a lot of time and hard work.”
Fritz has turned to gaming as a relaxing outlet when he’s on the road at ATP Tour events. Fortnite, Valeron, Call of Duty and FIFA are among his favourites to play. His controllers come along with his racquets for every flight and he’s found other players on Tour to battle against from the comfort of his hotel room.
“I like anything where I can be competitive playing against somebody. I bring my gaming laptop and controllers when I’m on the road and then also put a screen in my suitcase,” Fritz said. “The computer runs everything but sometimes the hotel wi-fi isn’t good enough, so then I just can’t play that week.
“Nick Kyrgios is probably one of the better gamers on Tour. He’s incredibly good at Call of Duty and FIFA. Jack Sock is really good at Fortnite as well.”
Fritz has been putting his gaming skills to use during the current suspension of play on Tour by taking part in several celebrity charity tournaments. He won a pair State Farm Play Apart Together events that featured Valorant and FIFA, respectively, and teamed with Addison Rae to prevail in the Stay at Home Slam, a live virtual tennis tournament on Nintendo Switch’s Mario Tennis Aces. The pair defeated Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki in the final.
Each State Farm event yielded $25,000 for his charity of choice and the Stay At Home Slam brought in $1 million since he and Rae competed for the same organisation. Fritz has been playing for No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit that works to end child hunger in America. It's a cause that's close to his heart as he remains at home in California with his wife and three-year-old son, Jordan.
"I’m very empathetic towards kids since I have a child, so I can’t imagine my son being in a position where he doesn’t know if he can eat,” Fritz said. “That’s what No Kid Hungry is fighting to stop, so I’m making sure that I’m giving my time and donating to an organisation that’s doing everything they can to help kids. I’m all for it.”