Read & Watch: C'Mon, Mom! Fritz Remembers Mixed Doubles At 12
Fritz’s mother, Kathy May, reached the Top 10 in the WTA Rankings
Growing up, Taylor Fritz’s journey towards his goal of making it onto the ATP Tour included hundreds of tournament appearances.
But one particular event, at home in San Diego, brings back particularly fond memories. At the age of 12, Fritz teamed up with his mother, former Top 10 star Kathy May Fritz, to compete in a prestigious mother-son event at his local club.
“One of the biggest mother-son tournaments in the country just happened to be in San Diego where I live. So, it was easy, we would just play it,” said Fritz. “My mom was a former Top 10 player and she still played a lot, so she was, for sure, the best mom in the competition.
“I was only 12 years old, so her and I were probably at a very similar level. She might have been better than me at the time. We were playing against a lot of college guys and older guys, so it was tough for me but we got to the quarter-finals.”
While leading their quarter-final match, Kathy May suffered an unfortunate calf injury. But Taylor, desperate to progress in the competition, forced his mother to continue playing in the hope of closing out the victory.
“In the middle of the quarter-final match, she popped her calf and couldn’t play any more,” said Fritz. “We were winning and I was a 12-year-old kid. I wanted to win so bad. I forced her to keep going and finish the match and we ended up winning.
“We got third place in the tournament, but it was just funny because I made her keep playing when she really couldn’t walk. Now, looking back at it, it is just a mother-son at the local club near my house so it was not that big of a deal. But, back then, it was all that mattered.”
Fritz’s passion for the sport has been on full display this year, as the 21-year-old has risen 21 positions to a career-high No. 28 in the ATP Rankings. The American claimed his first ATP Tour crown at the Nature Valley International in June (d. Querrey) and also advanced to the BB&T Atlanta Open championship match last week (l. to De Minaur).
But Fritz knows that he would not be where he is today without the support of his mother. Kathy May has travelled to events and helped her son work on the strategic side of his game.
“I spent a lot of time on the court with my mom and she taught me a lot of things,” said Fritz. “It has definitely helped me along the way. She definitely helped me make decisions and she came to tournaments and she coached me and gave me strategies.”
Now living closer to Los Angeles, can Fritz see himself one day travelling down the coast with his mother to claim the top prize?
“I am sure we could go back now, if we really wanted to. I wouldn’t be getting bullied by the college guys anymore. That could be fun.”