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Mission: Sunshine Double? Taylor Fritz makes a statement of intent in Miami
The Indian Wells champion will have to get past good friend Tommy Paul in the third round to keep his Miami campaign on track.
Published Mar 27, 2022
WATCH: Taylor Fritz speaks with Tennis Channel following his 2022 Miami second-round win.
After lifting his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy last week in Indian Wells, Taylor Fritz seems to be eyeing another big feat in Miami: the elusive “Sunshine Double”.
The American player wrote out a cheeky statement of intent after his second-round win over Mikhail Kukushkin, which went the distance before Fritz came away with the 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win. Instead of writing out his signature on the camera lens, as is tradition, Fritz drew a sun emoji and “x 2”.
Could the Sunshine Double be his new target?
“That was just a joke. I feel like it's probably going to piss people off, like, Oh, my God, he thinks he's gonna win. It was just a joke,” Fritz clarified during his post-match press conference.
“Technically it's still live, but yeah, I didn't know what to write and I thought it was funny.”
Winning the two American hard-court tournaments back to back is notoriously one of the toughest feats in tennis: so far, only 10 players have ever achieved it. The last player to add her name to that elite list was Victoria Azarenka in 2016, following in the footsteps of players like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Kim Clijsters and Steffi Graf.
From the changes in conditions—the California desert to swampy South Florida—and court speed, to the culture-shock of going from idyllic Indian Wells to high-energy Miami, players often struggle to keep up their winning ways across the full four weeks.
While Fritz might have walked it back in press, there’s no reason why the 24-year-old couldn’t aim to pull off a Sunshine Double of his own. After all, the American was rock-solid in Indian Wells, scoring a confident win over world No.7 Andrey Rublev in the semifinals and handing 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal his first loss of the season in the final.
Up next in Miami, Fritz will have to get past good friend Tommy Paul as he seeks to make the fourth round for the second year in a row. The pair have a 1-1 head-to-head record in ATP Tour matches, but they go way back to their days as juniors: in 2015, Paul defeated Fritz to win Roland Garros, before Fritz paid him back in the US Open boy’s final.
“He's probably one of the best movers on tour… He's going to be coming to net quite a bit, finishing points at net, and it's never easy playing one of your best friends,” Fritz said. “But in the past, I have done well when playing my friends. It's going to be a really tough match because he's playing well.”