Michael Russell On Fritz, Isner & Co: 'Everybody Is Fired Up'

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With the ATP Cup match schedule coming out in early December, Taylor Fritz has been doing his homework. The World No. 23 can’t wait to lead Team United States against Canada in Group C on Sunday.

“I’m really excited,” said Fritz. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to play in front of a big crowd again. We got a taste of it towards the end of last year, but it should be good energy.”

Fritz, the United States’ No. 1 singles player, opens against World No. 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday, and will later challenge Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Cameron Norrie of Great Britain.

“The groups and everything came out in early December, so I’ve spent this whole off-season knowing my first three matches of the year, which is pretty cool,” said Fritz. “Obviously, they are three really tough matches, but I’ve been playing really well and I’m looking forward to it.”

John Isner, who sits one spot behind Fritz at No. 24 in the ATP Rankings, is also looking forward to the challenge of facing Canada’s Denis Shapovalov. “I’m going to play Shapovalov in a couple of days and he’s actually someone who I’ve never played before, which is kind of unusual, as I’ve been on the Tour with him for three or four years now,” said Isner.

Brandon Nakashima, who reached back-to-back ATP Tour finals in Los Cabos (l. to Norrie) and Atlanta (l. to Isner), and Rajeev Ram, currently No. 4 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, also feature for the United States in Sydney.

Isner believes the United States has several partnership options at its disposal for the doubles match. “I think any of us [with] Raj obviously the staple, can play doubles. Physically, I don’t think it’s an issue.”

Nakashima, who is making his ATP Cup debut, said, “I think it’s going to be a really good week. I feel very confident about our team here. I think it will be a great experience for me just to watch all these matches close up, being able to practise with all these guys.”

American Captain Michael Russell is Fritz’s full-time coach, and he is leading his country at the ATP Cup for the first time.

“We’re excited. We finished last year pretty strong, and we’re looking to come up against Canada Sunday and we feel good about our team,” said Russell. “Everybody’s fired up.”

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