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"It's a Team USA thing": Keys, Tiafoe and Pegula explain Fritz's botched camera lens drawing
The Americans have been "locked in" during a banner first week in Melbourne, but the message was almost lost in translation after Taylor Fritz's questionable art skills went viral.
Published Jan 18, 2023
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World No. 9 Taylor Fritz was locked in during his first-round match at the Australian Open, which saw him blast 32 aces across four sets against Nikoloz Basilashvilli on Tuesday.
After match point the American grabbed a marker and, in the tradition of victorious tennis players, scribbled out a message on the camera lens on his way off court. But rather than share a funny quip, a new logo reveal, a message of peace, or a simple autograph, Fritz opted for a more artistic effort.
It’s just that no one could tell what it was, and the guesses were… questionable at best. Judge for yourself:
“For [your] information I was trying to draw a lock emoji.... I just forgot the very important fact that I suck at drawing,” Fritz explained on social media, drawing another round of laughter and a bit of roasting from the likes of Jessica Pegula and Daria Saville in the replies.
By Wednesday, the locks were seen on camera lenses all over Melbourne Park, as Fritz’s countrymen showed off their own takes. And there were plenty of them, with American players going 14-6 in wins and losses—after they went 8-0 on Day 2.
“It is a Team USA thing. Unfortunately, Taylor’s was just so bad,” said Madison Keys, laughing during her post-match press conference.
“I guess for whatever reason today we decided that we would all lean in and try to explain what Taylor was trying to do for him. Yeah, it's just us being dumb.”
Dumb or not, the Americans have taken Australia by storm during the opening weeks of the year—starting with Team USA’s victory at the inaugural United Cup.
According to Frances Tiafoe, the “lock” became a team motto during the mixed event, where he competed alongside Fritz, Keys and Pegula.
“The locked thing, honestly, I've been kind of living by that for a little bit,” Tiafoe explained in press. “I think you've seen the shift in myself in being more ‘locked’ in everything [I’m] doing, staying super present, staying in the moment, staying locked in.
“It's funny coming from me, because everyone knows how I go about my business. I'm very open and just joking around. When I'm saying it, it just sounds funny. So then it became a thing where if Frances can lock, everyone has got to lock. That's kind of how it all came around.”
The good vibes have already been paying off, with 13 men and 11 women reaching the Australian Open second round and beyond. American players even took center stage in a few dramatic showdowns on Wednesday, highlighted by No. 7 seed Coco Gauff winning 6-3, 7-6 (4) over Emma Raducanu, and Mackenzie McDonald’s straight sets stunner over an injured Rafael Nadal.
Tiafoe, who drew a lock of his own after his 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Shang Juncheng, also had a bit of constructive criticism for Fritz’s art skills.
“It's funny because [now] they're all saying it. Maddie, Fritz,” Tiafoe said with a grin. “Fritz’s dumb ass drew a penis the other day trying to draw a lock sign. That's Fritz being Fritz.
“It's good. We're all doing well, and it's becoming a good team camaraderie.”