Fritz before the game to learn about his video game obsession, how he travels, and more.
Taylor Fritz knocked out fifth seed Matteo Berrettini in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the American will meet Jannik Sinner, the 10th seed, for a spot in the Indian Wells quarter-finals.
When do you remember first getting into video games?
When I was a kid that was the most entertaining thing to me, going up against somebody else. So when I found out I could go on Xbox with my friends and play Call of Duty at night against other people and talk [smack] to them while doing it, it was really fun for me. So I think that probably happened around sixth or seventh grade.
I was always into video games. Probably my first video game ever was one of those Pokemon games on the Gameboy when I was a kid. But then I think I really got into it when I found out that you could play online against other people. Just the idea of competition like that, I mean that’s what I love about sports so much, the competition.
I’d come home from school every day and tell my parents I did my homework and get on Xbox with my friends and play Call of Duty. I think that’s where it started for me, probably. We would do zombies, we would do multiplayer, we would do everything. I just think once it got to the point where I could actually play with people and against people, that’s when it really peaked my interest a lot.
If you had to pick your three favourite games, what would they be?
It’d be easier to say of all time. So at the peak of the game I enjoyed it the most, probably the first couple of months that Fortnite was out is pretty unbeatable. Just the friends hopping on and stuff. Then, probably Call of Duty Black Ops 2 I played a lot of. I loved that game. And then, as a kid I also played a lot of World of Warcraft. I’d say that’s up there for me, too.
At what point did it become more of a serious thing and not just having fun with friends? I mean, it still is. That’s what it is. I just became better at it from doing it a lot and me just being the competitive person that I am. Whatever game I’m playing, I’m always watching better people play, I’m studying what they’re doing.
When I’m in bed going to sleep, I’ll watch videos and such to try to get that little extra that might make me better at the game. I’ll do stuff like that and I just got better at certain games though playing and learning and watching. So it’s still just fun for me, but it’s just nice that I can play in some of these events and compete with good players. What are you best at right now?
Probably Apex Legends, it’s a pretty popular game right now. I’d say that’s probably my best game right now. But the best I’ve ever been at a game for sure was FIFA. I got injured back in 2016, 2017. It was FIFA 17 at the time and I played that game so much when I was injured, I studied it so much and practised so much, I got to Top 100 in North America. That was the first year they had rankings in FIFA, they had a ranking system, so I got really into it that year because I was really motivated to try and get on the leaderboard.
Do you care about soccer besides FIFA, or do you just like the video game? FIFA helped get me into soccer. I like watching soccer, it’s probably my second-favourite sport to watch.
When did you start carrying stuff with you on the road? It’s changed a lot throughout the years. Now, I’ve realised the easiest way to do it is just to bring a gaming PC, plug a controller into it, and then I’ve got my screen, my console. Everything is all together. It’s very easy to do that. Now there’s crossplay, so if you’re on a computer you can play with people on PlayStation and Xbox.