John Lloyd Is High On Taylor Fritz

Last week I ventured over to The Benjamin Hotel on East 50th Street, where John Lloyd was hosting a morning meet and greet, as one of his many US Open events and festivities. On the agenda were to ask him about Facing Guillermo Vilas, his close encounters with Donald Trump and his view of the young Americans.

The three-time major champion (three mixed doubles titles with Wendy Turnbull, 1982 Roland Garros, 1983,1984 Wimbledon) is most impressed by the talented females being produced in America. “In the womens, you’ve got Coco Gauff is unbelievable. Amanda Anisimova I think is fabulous. The women’s US tennis is fantastic. Mens…I’m a big fan of Taylor Fritz. He’s 22. He played on my (World) Team Tennis team this year (Newport Beach). And I think he’s very good. I like Tiafoe. I think he’s another one that’s good. Opelka is very good. There’s a good group of players coming through.”

When asked what he thinks Fritz needs to do to take it to the next level from his current ranking of 28, the 1977 Australian Open singles finalist who reached a career high ranking of 21 in 1978 said, “He just has to get a little better in his defensive mode. He attacks brilliantly, he just has to get a little bit better defending. These days you’ve gotta have a big game but you also – if you look at Federer and Djokovic, they defend so well. They get another ball back in play. Federer is amazing. I think Taylor has to work on that a little bit better. Just defending the game as well as attacking. Get the balance right. But he’s a damn good player.”

Lloyd, winner of one career ATP singles title and two in doubles, likes the mental mindset of Fritz. “He’s a great competitor. Got a great attitude,” said the man who lost to Vitas Gerulaitis in five sets in the Aussie Open final 63 76 57 36 62. “Confident without being cocky. He’s confident in himself but he’s not an asshole. He’s not like an egomaniac. He knows what he wants and he thinks he can do it. Nothing wrong with that.”

Lloyd has served in many capacities in pro tennis. He was a Davis Cup captain for England, a senior Tour player, TV commentator who originated the “overcooked” term, husband of Chris Evert. His best result at Wimbledon was third round in 1973, 1984 and 1985, His best result at US Open was QF in 1984.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    I see nothing wrong with that handshake, she’s clearly irritated by the loss and showed her true emotions, not fake emotions. I’m shocked the media is making an issue criticizing this, meanwhile the media virtually ignored Gimelstob’s attempted murder. Is the tennis channel making an issue of this? The same tennis channel that has still never said one word of rebuke of Gimelstob’s near murder of Randall Kaplan.

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    Gimelstob, who I appreciated for his game and nothing more. The guy has had such problems on and off tour. He was among the worst players to watch in practice – I’ve seen players destroy racquets but not destroy racquets and then call themselves the worst names in the boom. Gimelstob verbally abused himself and then would lash out at others and then pretend nothing happened.

    Now he assaults people and lines up his personal interests with the sport and players protect him. Please. Gimelstob has been racking up all kinds of violations left right and center. He has earned the dreaded tour ban a la Pierce.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    I feel Gimelstob can redeem himself and turn himself into a positive figure in tennis, much like the even more despicable Mike Tyson managed to do in boxing. But it will take time and goodwill and probably mental health rehab. But for the media to make an issue of Giorgi’s handshake after a terrible loss is suspect. Weren’t there plenty more stories to talk about yesterday? Such as Nagal’s journey, the young kid Svadja? Brooksby’s upset of Berdych? Deminaur? Chardy beating Hukarcz in five sets? For the media to focus on one single damned rushed heated handshake is absolutely ridiculous display of bizarre priorities.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Sakkari just beat Giorgi 63 60 in Cincy, and the other meeting was a Sakkari win 63 63 in New Haven 2016. Giorgi has lost all six sets to Sakkari. It must be really eating her up. Maybe they have a personal grudge with each other, Sakkari seemed to show a little arrogance and machismo when she stuck out her hand too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Tsitsipas has now lost 1R four times since losing to Felix in Queens, talk about a devastating loss. Only three match wins since Queens for Tsitsipas. Proves how one match win or loss can spread to many more.

  • jg · August 27, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    I’m watching a little of Chung Escobedo now and I know this doesn’t mean you win the match, but has anyone at the Open hit the ball as hard as Escobedo, I think you can safely use the word “beast” when describing his ground strokes.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Escobedo can thump it.

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    I was watching American Ninja Warrior, and with two competitors one of them called the other “a beast” and he meant “champion”. Sheesh.

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    Wow, today is the day! Yesterday’s matches only a warm up for part two of round one.

    Thought Rublev was playing well! No idea if he can make it out of round two. Tsitsipas needs to work on his game. Such is sport, one player’s triumph is another player’s disappointment.

    Kukuskin beats Roberto Bautista-Agut in five, nice work. That alone makes life better for other players, Bautista-Agut had an incredible Wimbledon as a semifinalist.

    Berretini sends Gasquet home. Struff closes out Ruud easily.

    And will Zverev pull out his match? He’s now in set five after owning the first two sets. Zverev has got a reputation for losing early at slams. He’s was a break in the fifth, and just handed it back to Albot. He better put this away soon. Albot is good but Zverev has a slam issue.

    Bouzkova doing quite nicely in her round one. Well done. Simona Halep closing out her match with Gibbs, who also made the most of her wildcard. Good stuff. Kontaveit, Cornet through to Rd two. Women’s draw today is holding up so far.

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Pops is making Canadian tennis proud, nice work so far against Khachanov. Pops can win this match, but Khachanov has played well all summer.

    There goes Thiem, losing to Giant killer Fabbiano, who has become the guy no one should want to play in round one of a slam. Hope Thiem plays doubles. That’s a terrible performance. Stefanki called this, said Massu wasn’t much of a coach.

    Escobedo has a nice game, now at two sets to one against Chung, who’s got a better game than Esco I think, always like Chung! With Esco, there’s a lot to like. I don’t know how he slipped back after cracking the top hundred a few times over the last three years. He had a movement issue when I saw him – loved his game. Strategy problem maybe, consistency…same stuff. I’ll have to watch the clips. I thought he had the most game of all the young US men next genners – Opelka the biggest weapon of course, but Esco a complete game and came in under the radar. But here we are and the proven player is Fritz and everyone else is just hanging around.

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Tignor on has a nice piece on Berdych and his loss to Brooksby.

  • Hartt · August 27, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    I am watching Pospisil vs Khachanov. Even though Vasek is Canadian I am rooting for Karen. I think he is the better player and could go deeper in the tourney if he gets through the first round. Right now, though, Vasek leads 2 sets – 1. Every once in a while Vashy has a very good match, but those are relatively rare.

  • Hartt · August 27, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Scoop, I saw the interview Tom Tebbutt did with you. That’s quite a prediction, Felix possibly better than Novak!

    One thing, Denis’ name is pronounced Shap a VOL ov.

  • Harold · August 27, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    What a day for the next Gen. Thiem, Tsitsipas and Khachanov go home.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Escobedo’s mind wanders, he loses intensity and focus and mistakes happen. You see him live and his eyes wander sommetimes, he’s not that locked in beast he has to be to be a top 40 force.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Russians in majors…things get flaky. You get some weird scores and upsets unexpected both ways, Kukushkin…wow.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Hartt, I still believe in Felix. I have trouble with certain names, Dolgopolov too. Start saying it one way and it’s hard to change. 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Sandgren slays Tsonga in five sets from two down. Hero.

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    May happen, Kokk vs Nadal?

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Tomljanovic! Beats Bouzkova badly in third. What a win. Many WTA players I don’t know but I know these two! What did we say…not a good idea to peak in Toronto if you’re aiming for bigger things. And Andreescu is also fortunate not to play too much in that final in Toronto. She and Serena both lucked out.

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Goodness, Sandgren. Tsonga must be so upset and Sandgren happiest he’s ever been. The old guard beyond Nadal, Djoko, Federer is crumbling. Karlovic gets swept aside and retires after Tiafoe takes the first two sets.

  • Andrew Miller · August 27, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Verdasco and Isner quietly move to round two. No drama, nothing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    Good to see Verdasco going strong. Three years ago he played Lopez in the first round and Lopez beat him in four and at the end of the match Lopez insulted Verdasco behind his back to his box, saying, “He’s the worst player in the draw.” In Spanish, but a Spanish speaker was next to me and told me that’s what he said. Now Verdasco is much improved and capable of rolling into the second week if he can get some breaks.

  • catherine · August 28, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Karma for Sloane who goes out to Kalinskaya in SS. Bianca wins v Volynets and plays carefully, unspectacularly. No fuss or hype.

    Muguruza played badly, yes, but she seems to be following the Kerber route in being in no hurry to hire a coach, says all the other girls have got better since her days winning GSs. Not sure about that.

    Gauff served 11 dfs winning in 3. Sabalenka gets past Azarenka in 3. When did Aryna last play a 2 set match and win ? Fisette is probably examining his contract. He made a mistake going back. Almost always a mistake.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 28, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Maybe nobody is willing to coach muguruza, we all saw the abuse he took and his permanent sour expression when he was around her.

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