“I Can Take Control”: Taylor Fritz Sends Warning to Novak Djokovic Ahead of Australian Open 2021 Clash

Published 02/10/2021, 11:48 PM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his first round match against France’s Jeremy Chardy REUTERS/Loren Elliott


After winning a grueling five-set second-round match, Taylor Fritz faces the toughest challenge in the third round of the 2021 Australian Open. The American will lock horns with the most successful player on the Australian Open soil, the defending champion, Novak Djokovic.

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Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the first set during his group stage match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Fritz has reached the third round at Melbourne Park on each of his last two visits. But he has lost each time, as the opponents on the other side have been Roger Federer in 2019 and Dominic Thiem in 2020. Facing the 8-time Australian Open champion Djokovic this time, Fritz understands the enormity of the challenge.

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“It’s Novak. And it’s Novak here at the Australian Open,” said Fritz, aiming to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the first time.

Fritz ready for the Novak Djokovic challenge

The 23-year-old is backing himself and just wants to play his best tennis. Having beaten two tough players in his opening two rounds, Fritz’s powerful serve and a strong baseline game could trouble Djokovic. He will aim to maintain his high points winning percentage on his first serve and return equally well to have any chance against the Serbian.

“But for me, I’m just going to have to play my best tennis. Luckily for me and my game, I possess the ability if I’m on, I can serve well enough to where I won’t get broken and I can be extremely aggressive on the groundstrokes and I can take control if I’m on,” remarked Fritz.

Taylor Fritz of the United States reacts to winning a point against Denis Shapovalov of Canada (not pictured) on day five of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The American has faced Djokovic twice in the past and has lost both matches in straight sets. However, both encounters have been on clay, with the first one being at the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters followed by Madrid Masters in the same year.

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Knowing this could be his third consecutive third-round exit at the Australian Open, Fritz talked about not wanting to put any pressure on him and fighting hard on the court.

“I’ve got nothing to lose, and I’m going to go out and I’m going to have a lot of fun and I’m going to play extremely aggressive tennis and see what I can do,” added Fritz.

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With fellow American, Frances Tiafoe, taking a set against Djokovic in their second-round meeting, it will give Fritz the confidence to go all guns blazing.

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Kshitij Tayal

392 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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