Taylor Fritz headed to ATP Finals after Carlos Alcaraz withdraws
Taylor Fritz is headed to Turin after all. Days after losing a three-hour epic to France's Gilles Simon at the Rolex Paris Masters, seemingly dashing his hopes for a berth at the year-end Nitto ATP Finals in the process, Fritz learned he will, in fact, make his debut at the season-ending championships: He ascended into the field after Carlos Alcaraz announced his withdrawal due to injury.
Alcaraz retired in the second-set tiebreak of his quarterfinal match against eventual champion Holger Rune in Paris on Friday, and announced on social media on Saturday that he was diagnosed with an internal oblique muscle tear in his left abdominal wall. The estimated recovery time is six weeks, and it forces the world No. 1 and US Open champion out of both Turin and the Davis Cup Finals later this month.
"It is tough and painful for me to miss these two events, which are so important to me," Alcaraz wrote, "but all I can do is be positive and focus on my recovery."
Despite how it came to be, a place among the year's eight best players is a fitting reward for a breakout 2022 for Fritz, who's currently the top-ranked American man at world No. 9.
One of just three players to win at all three levels of ATP Tour events this year along with Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas, Fritz broke out in March by winning his first ATP Masters 1000 event at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with an upset of then-undefeated Rafael Nadal in the final; he also triumphed in Tokyo and Eastbourne to bring his overall career total of singles titles to four.
At Grand Slam level, he posted career-best results at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, reaching Round 4 and the quarterfinals, respectively. On Oct. 10, after beating fellow American Frances Tiafoe to win in Tokyo, Fritz cracked the Top 10 in the ATP singles rankings for the first time at No. 8; he was the first American man to reach the world's Top 10 since Jack Sock in 2017.
Fritz heads to Turin with Nadal, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev. The Nitto ATP Finals will be played at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from Nov. 13-20.