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Taylor Fritz’s Coach Reveals Masterplan to Rattle Novak Djokovic With the Help of External Support

Published 05/15/2024, 9:45 AM EDT

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In the high stakes of professional tennis, the margin between winning and losing can be razor-thin. Therefore, players and coaches have to frequently strategize to take full advantage of their opponent’s vulnerability. This is true for the pair of Taylor Fritz and his coach, Michael Russell, as well. During an interview, Russell revealed how using the “crowd” against Novak Djokovic can do the magic in this regard.

While Taylor Fritz was preparing to face Novak Djokovic for the ninth time in his career at the Australian Open this season, his coach, Russell, tried to focus on a psychological element that could work against Djokovic. During an interview taken before the quarterfinal face-off against the two, the coach revealed, “We have some strategic keys that Taylor is hoping to execute to keep Novak a little off-key…I think using the crowd to help you get through that finish line sometimes. It kind of unnerves Nole a little bit.”

Novak Djokovic’s interaction with the crowd has indeed been a cause of concern in some of his matches. Such an incident occurred during the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2023 as well. There, the seven-time Wimbledon champion was booed by the audience. Visibly frustrated, Djokovic was seen making a mocking gesture to the crowd, and it ultimately led to a point deduction. 

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Russell indicated such incidents and further added, “He gets a little bit rattled.” Therefore, he chose this alternative method. Apart from that, he also revealed how he is guiding Fritz to utilize the weather conditions as well.

“Taylor’s playing aggressive and they are playing during the day so it is going to be hot. You know he has to use those conditions to his advantage.”  However, even after an elaborate preparation, Taylor Fritz could not make it past Novak Djokovic. But he surely did make his opponent run for his points.

“He was making me uncomfortable,” Novak Djokovic said after his match against Fritz

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Taylor Fritz, who was making his debut in the quarterfinal of the Australian Open, lost to Djokovic with a score of  7-6(7-3), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. However, what made it more grim was that it was his ninth loss against Djokovic. However, the 26-year-old player did manage to give his opponent a tight match. And the 24-Grand-Slam-Champion himself admitted it later in an interview.

“He was making me uncomfortable on the court, he was very aggressive. He served great, he was staying close to the line, taking the ball early and making me run. I was on the back foot often. He had a clear game plan. He was really sharp. The first couple of sets was definitely a struggle.” Although Fritz failed to beat Novak Djokovic, his strategic game plan against the World No. 1 on-court definitely made the match an interesting one to watch. 

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Written by:

Ankita Banerjee

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Ankita Banerjee is a Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. She seamlessly blends her keen interest in writing with an ability to analytically comprehend things. During her college days, she contributed numerous articles to the college magazine, showcasing her growing deep-rooted in the sport.
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Edited by:

Arunima Bhanot