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Taylor Fritz, top-ranked American tennis player, returns to Coachella Valley where he has family roots

Southern California born and raised, Taylor Fritz is back at Indian Wells competing in World Team Tennis. And this isn’t his first rodeo; he’s all smiles being back in one of his favorite places.

"We would come here all the time when I was younger," said Fritz. "I was playing the pre-qualifying event for Indian Wells when I was 15 to 16 years old. Lots of tournaments up here."

Since he was little, Fritz has been coming to the Coachella Valley -- nicknamed "Tennis Paradise" -- to pursue his tennis dream. Over the years he has had some of his best moments in front of Coachella Valley, but he's also had them in front of his biggest fan.

His dad, Guy Fritz, who has coached at College of the Desert for more than two decades, has spent more time in this area with Taylor than anyone.

"He was only about 3 years old, and my brother ran the Indian Ridge. He was the tennis director there, and I remember putting him on the clay court and he loved it. Sliding around on the clay with his little two-handed forehand," said Coach Fritz.

Taylor Fritz and his father, Guy

Not so little of a forehand now. Call it a fear hand. Taylor has elevated his game to an elite level. You don’t get to be a top 25 player in the world by luck.

Back in October for the rescheduled BNP Paribas Open, Fritz took out some of tennis’ best talent en route to the semifinals.

"This has always kind of been like a home tournament for me. So I feel really confident here, feel at home," said Fritz. "So I think that definitely played a part in me being confident and playing good tennis."

Remember, Fritz is only 24. So these are still the early chapters of his tennis story. Local fans are taking notice, and his family couldn’t be more proud.

"We are a desert family," said Laura Fritz, Taylor's Aunt. "Yuma, Arizona Las Vegas, Palm Springs. So it does feel very natural for him to be here and the success that he is having these last two months has just been phenomenal. I mean he has really stepped up to world-class tennis."

With how well Fritz is playing, he is traveling across the globe every month competing against the world's best. But when he is playing here at Indian Wells, pops isn’t missing that. To see your son, the top-ranked American player, play at this high of a level -- that’s priceless.

"Well, I couldn’t be more proud," said Coach Fritz. " I’m the original proud father anyways, but it’s fantastic because you think those things can happen but when they do, it’s just great."

"Obviously a goal that I’ve worked for my whole life so it’s amazing to see it happen. But you know I’m ranked 23 in the world right now, and I want to go so much higher," said Fritz. "So being the number one American is cool but the next goal and next step is to see myself in the top 10."

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Bailey Arredondo

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