Taylor Fritz becomes first Top 5 American man since Andy Roddick in 2009
The recent rise of American men's tennis continued on Monday, as Taylor Fritz broke into the Top 5 of the ATP rankings for the first time. The 25-year-old set himself up for the jump from world No. 7 by winning the Delray Beach title last Sunday—though he had to wait eight days to officially achieve his milestone as Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev dropped points last week, paving the way for Fritz to reach a new career-high of No. 5.
The 'Break Point' star is the 21st American man to crack the Top 5 since the ATP rankings began in 1973 and the first since Andy Roddick in 2009.
"It's a huge honor to be the first American in the Top 5 since [Roddick] was and I'm hoping that I can take it even further," Fritz said in a Monday press conference at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico. "Growing up I watched him play, even though I didn't watch a ton of tennis. I remember that crazy final he had at Wimbledon [in 2009] with Federer."
Despite the fanfare that has come with his latest achievement, Fritz is keeping his focus on the court. Fittingly, the American celebrated his achievement with a win, beating former world No. 8 John Isner on Monday night in Acapulco.
"It's obviously pretty exciting to be Top 5. I've known for about a week now that today was going to be the day that I'd be Top 5," said Fritz, who is one of 10 American men in the Top 50. "Now I just need to focus on the tournament week and not so much about the ranking."
Last March, Fritz won the biggest trophy of his career at Indian Wells in his native Southern California. He followed that up with crowns in Eastbourne and Tokyo last season, his title run in Japan lifting him into the Top 10 for the first time. This year, Delray Beach was Fritz's fifth tour-level title.
With Indian Wells fast approaching, Fritz will likely need to defend his home title to keep his place in the Top 5. But instead of feeling the pressure to maintain his standing, the American is setting his sights on even bigger prizes.
"I think if I'm able to win a Masters 1000, then I'm able to win a Grand Slam," he said when asked if he is ready to break through at a major. "Things just need to come together. I need to be playing really well one specific week. I feel like it's possible for sure."