Jay Paris: Fritz continues to climb the junior tennis ladder

Kathy May Fritz, like any mother, is pleased her teenage son landed a summer job.

“I’m very proud of him,’’ she said.

Even if he doesn’t get paid?

So it goes if you’re Taylor Fritz.

Fritz, among the world’s top junior players, is joining forces with the San Diego Aviators of Mylan World Team Tennis.

At least Taylor, 17, won’t have a far commute with the home matches at Carlsbad’s Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.

Taylor remains an amateur and he’ll be playing as such across Europe and at the French Open before slapping on an Aviators jersey. Ranked fifth among junior players, Taylor is seen as one of the young Americans seeking to make a mark on the men’s side.

“I continue to work on and off the court,’’ said Taylor, who won the CIF San Diego Section title as a Torrey Pines High freshman and now takes classes online. “I’m trying to get stronger so I can compete against the top players.’’

The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Taylor has the frame.

With a booming forehand and massive serve, Taylor has the game.

With his mother, and father, Guy Fritz, a former University of San Diego All American, being former pros, Taylor has the genes.

Guy Fritz is Taylor’s coach, with his wife adding her tennis knowledge, too.

But the will has to come from Taylor, and he’s all in.

“I love the completion,’’ Taylor said. “I just love playing someone one-on-one.’’

He was among four left standing at last summer’s Wimbledon junior event. He also had a solid run at this year’s Australian Open, reaching the quarterfinals. In January, he advanced to the semifinals of a Futures tournament in Los Angeles.

It’s all part of the process of shooting up the junior ladder, while preparing for the next step.

“I need to get faster and move better,’’ said Taylor, who won a qualifying match as a wild card at the recent BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. “There is a big difference between the juniors and the pros.’’

But Taylor, of Rancho Santa Fe, no longer wonders if he belongs. After his All England Club showing, Taylor eased the doubt which creeps into any player’s noggin’.

“That gave me a lot of confidence that I could compete at this level,’’ he said.

With his parents’ line of work, tennis was always nearby. Taylor first swung a racket as a tyke, but it wasn’t until he was 14 that the tennis bug bit.

“He really only started working hard three years ago,’’ Kathy May Fritz said.

Which makes his climb more impressive.

“Things have happened so quick,’’ he said. “I started to do well and then I thought I might be able to do something with this game.’’

He’s still a teenager, of course, which means body surfing near Del Mar’s 15th Street and hanging with his buddies.

But Taylor’s tennis future is so bright he needs shades when not at the beach.

“He loves to compete and loves the challenge,’’ Taylor’s mother said. “He’s very talented.’’

So much that a scholarship to USC awaits. But Taylor could turn pro before then or after dipping his toe into the collegiate ranks.

Just what does Taylor’s crystal ball show, 10 years out?

“I would love to be in the prime of my professional career,’’ he said. “If I could make a good living playing tennis, that would be my dream.’’

Every parents’ nightmare is a lazy teenager lounging on the couch all summer.

That won’t be the case in the Fritz household, as Taylor gallivants around the world, chasing a fuzzy ball and a goal, which couldn’t be clearer.

“I get to see a lot of new things and places that a lot of people my age don’t get to see,’’ Taylor said

His worn passport proves it. Him wearing out rivals confirms it.

Contact Jay Paris at jparis8@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports and at mighty1090.com

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