TOKYO (Reuters) – Rising American tennis star Taylor Fritz said on Monday that he is in the best shape of his life preparing to come out of quarantine but believes it is unrealistic to expect that to happen before the U.S. Open in August.
With both the ATP and WTA tours suspended until mid-July at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fritz is making the best of isolation at his house in Los Angeles.
The world number 24 has a gym set up at home and use of a private tennis court.
“I am spending more time working out than in training these days. There is nothing else I can really do,” Fritz told Reuters on Monday.
Fritz said he could play tomorrow if the tour restarted and believes his extra work during isolation could pay dividends when play resumes.
“I could (play) right now. I have been practicing enough to keep my level and then with all the gym stuff I have been doing I am in the best shape ever,” he said.
“I am ready to go.”
“I think this time is going to be really interesting when all the players come back to play because then you are going to see which players took the time to work on their fitness and get stronger and what players didn’t work during this time.”
The coronavirus outbreak has played havoc with the tennis season, causing the cancellation of Wimbledon and pushing the French Open back until September.
Tournament organisers are hopeful that the U.S. Open, scheduled to begin in New York on August 25, can go ahead but Fritz isn’t so sure.
“They are aiming for a certain time, but I think that time is a little bit unrealistic,” he said.
“The goal is to play the U.S. Open but personally I don’t know how they are going to be able to do that.”
“They want to be optimistic but it is tough as it keeps being pushed back.”
The enforced break came at a bad time for Fritz, who reached his first ATP Final before losing to Rafael Nadal at the Mexican Open.
“That was a really big result for me so I would say that after that my season was going really well and I was excited to bring that momentum into Indian Wells and Miami,” said the 22-year-old.
“So it kind of sucks that they were cancelled as I thought I had a good streak going.”
The uncertainty provides extra challenges for players but holding a career-high ATP ranking of 24 helps give Fritz some peace of mind.
“Mentally it is tough without having a start date. It would be easier if we had a start date,” he said.
“At least, for me, mindset wise I am in a good place because I have a pretty high ranking so I am happy.”
Although focused on being ready when play resumes, Fritz has been enjoying having a little bit of time away from the tour to relax and play some video games.
He brought his recent real-life good form into Sunday’s Stay At Home Slam where he won $1 million for charity playing Mario Tennis alongside doubles partner, Tik Tok personality Addison Rae.
“I was excited for it because I like playing video games. I think I am pretty good,” he said.
“There was a million dollars for charity on the line so we wanted to make sure we practiced a little. From the first time we got introduced we were both serious about winning and she was quite competitive.”
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)