Growing up, Taylor Fritz had plenty of reasons to be interested in tennis. Fritz’s mother, Kathy May Fritz, was a Top 10-ranked player who made it to three Grand Slam quarterfinals and won seven career singles titles; while Fritz’s father, Guy Henry Fritz, also was a professional tennis player and later went into tennis coaching. So it’s no surprise their son Taylor has become one of the rising American players on the men’s tour.
Fritz hit a major milestone early, making it to the final of the Memphis Open, which made him the second-fastest American to reach his first final, with Fritz doing it in just this third ATP event. Since then, Fritz has won his first ATP Tour singles title at the Eastbourne International tournament and has broken into the Top 25 world rankings. With a high-powered serve and a strong ground game, Fritz has shown that he has the potential to be the future of American men’s tennis.
Part of Fritz’s rise and strong play on tour has been his focus on his fitness and how he trains. Working closely with the USTA strength and conditioning department and their head trainer Brent Salazar, Fritz has put together a wide-ranging fitness and physio program that keeps him at the top of his game. One part of that has been important for Fritz is focusing on core workouts.
“Tennis is such a physically demanding sport, and it can be so rough on the body at the pro level,” Fritz told Men’s Journal. “You really have to do everything you can in the gym if you want to have a long career. I love doing core workouts. The core is so important in tennis. [Core] is the base for tennis movements, all tennis strokes, and helps prevent injuries. It’s important to work the core in all planes of movement, as we move in all three planes in tennis, especially into rotation and anti-rotation movements.”
Fritz spoke with Men’s Journal about his training routine, why he invested in E-Gaming, the best advice he’s received, and more.
Men’s Journal: The tennis season is a long one. What are some ways you train to keep your stamina and stay in shape through the year?
Taylor Fritz: If I’m winning a lot and going deep in a tournament, I don’t do a lot of heavy workouts. I’ll instead do a lot of short sessions where we focus on functional exercises, with the matches obviously being the major workout for each day. We’ll do gym sessions for strength and mobility and try to do most conditioning on the tennis court with drills.
How did you develop your training program? What are some of the things you do that help you get ready for tournaments and matches?
The strength and conditioning program was developed after testing was completed to see where my deficits are, plus also taking into account the demands of tennis. I’m trying to still improve size and strength and then power and agility to help not only performance but injury prevention. Brent Salazar also consulted with my physiotherapist, who incorporated prehab/injury prevention exercises, plus rehab exercises for any problem areas I currently have. My physio also does video analysis of strokes and uses corrective exercises to help improve biomechanical deficits I may have in strokes like the serve.
Do you have a set pre-match routine you try and follow?
My physio works on me for about 30 min before practice and matches, and then I’ll do a 20-30 min active dynamic warmup. Just before I go on court, I always throw down a quick energy drink, too, so I feel alert and fired up.
What’s your overall training philosophy/mindset and how have you applied that to your career?
My mindset and philosophy is to try to improve every day and walk away from every match, training session, or gym workout with more knowledge, strength, or understanding than I had the day before. If you follow that simple mindset, you’ll find value in everything you do, and you’ll always be motivated to come back for more!
As someone who is a fan e-gaming and invested in an esports company, what do you enjoy most about that sport? For you, what has it been like to see it grow and for you to be a part of it as an investor?
Whenever I get some downtime away from tennis, I like to play video games. I’ve always been passionate about it, and I just find it’s a great escape for me and a perfect way to rest my body and mind. It’s nice to focus on something different. The industry and interest in gaming are only going to continue to grow, in my opinion. That’s not something I’ve ever doubted! I’m just happy to now have an investment in it. There’s so much potential.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and how has it helped you in your career so far?
Someone once told me the importance of maintaining perspective in the difficult, stressful moments. I’ve carried that with me, and as a result, I think throughout my career so far I’ve been able to maintain a clear enough mind in the high-pressure moments to allow me to fight back from big deficits and play some of my best tennis when the pressure is really on.
Do you have any tips or advice on staying healthy and preventing injuries?
Stay consistent with weight sessions, so you always have that base of strength, then make sure you maintain the mobility in each joint that you need specific to tennis – shoulders, knees, hips. Stretching and working with bands is essential! If something hurts consistently, look closely at your technique and try to adjust it if you think it’s contributing to your pain or discomfort. Work with a physio, whenever possible, to keep soft tissue mobility, joint range of motion, and muscle length.
What’s your daily nutritional routine? What are some of the ways you follow your diet to stay in your best shape?
I eat everything in moderation and try to be as healthy as possible. I don’t really have a ‘regular diet’ other than getting my carbs in for practice and matches – which includes pasta and rice dishes and getting enough protein to help build on my gains in the gym and to help with recovery. Being a bigger athlete, I realized I wasn’t getting enough protein for my size, so I supplement with protein powder.
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