Taylor Fritz took in a Los Angeles Lakers game on Friday night, ahead of his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 debut next week at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. It was an ATP invasion at the Staples Center, with fellow stars Roger Federer, Tommy Haas and Milos Raonic also in attendance for the Lakers' 106-77 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Southern California native, who trains in nearby Carson, was given an exclusive tour of the facilities, including the locker room.
"It was so nice to check out the locker room and meet the players. I enjoyed the experience," Fritz told ATPWorldTour.com. "It was weird. All those guys were definitely bigger than me. Some of them towered over me. I felt so small.
"It's great to see some of those athletes taking an interest in tennis and what I do. That's amazing. I look up to those guys a lot."
Fritz had the opportunity to meet Lakers stars Roy Hibbert and Metta World Peace, along with head coach Byron Scott and ESPN broadcaster Mike Tirico. The youngest player in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, the 18 year old also had an unexpected encounter with Federer and Haas on the court.
"We talked about tennis, scheduling and what we're up to. I chatted a little about soccer with Federer. They're both really good guys. I definitely wasn't expecting to run into them."
Fritz was awarded a wild card into the Indian Wells main draw, where he will make his first appearance at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. Fellow American teen Frances Tiafoe was also given a wild card, along with Juan Martin del Potro, Rajeev Ram and Mackenzie McDonald.