Fri. 29 Dec. 2023 - Sun. 7 Jan. 2024

Pegula Answers Fritz’s Call To Reunite Team USA

Updated11/14/2023 4:11:00 AM

Jessica Pegula was more than happy to get the gang back together and lead the United States in their title defence at the United Cup in 2024.

"Taylor Fritz asked me to play this year, because he wanted to play, so I told him we'll be back for our mixed dubs team,” she told unitedcup.com.

"Super excited to be coming back to United Cup. It was such an amazing event (in 2023), we had so much fun.”

Pegula and Fritz will lead Team USA into battle in Perth for the 2024 event, after their country landed in Group C with Australia and Great Britain.

They begin their campaign on Sunday 31 December against Great Britain at RAC Arena.

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The United States is one of just three nations – alongside Poland and Greece – in which both men’s and women’s No.1 players are ranked in the top 10. The strength of Pegula and Fritz as top-10 singles players was apparent in 2023, when they led Team USA to become the inaugural United Cup champions.

The team was also notable for its camaraderie – something which grew through group activities like escape rooms.

“Last year was kind of our first time, like, actually hanging out, and it was cool,” Fritz told ATP Tennis Radio.

“All the girls in our team, I think everyone came together a lot that week... so I think it played a big part in our team having such a good result, as we were really close.”

Playing in Sydney, Team USA’s results were stellar. The country went undefeated in the group stages and later dominated Poland in the semifinals and Italy in the final.

Both Pegula and Fritz won four of their five singles matches, and together they went undefeated in three mixed doubles matches.

"Jessie got pretty mad at me when I messed up in mixed doubles,” joked Fritz, whose final defeat of Italian Matteo Berrettini clinched the winning point for Team USA.

“I'm excited to play the mixed doubles matches; I think now that there's less (singles) matches there's going to be more deciding mixed doubles matches than there were (last time), so I think it's going to be a more important part of it.

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"(In singles) you're guaranteed to play some good players to start the year if you're your country's No.1. It's a great way to start the year to get some tough matches.”

Fritz’s success at the United Cup set the tone for his 2023 season, during which he remained a top-10 player for the second consecutive year.

He peaked at world No.5 shortly after winning the ATP Delray Beach title and went on to enjoy a memorable North American summer, winning 15 of 19 matches and reaching the US Open quarterfinals – his best result at his home Grand Slam.

Like Fritz, Pegula won more than 50 matches as she maintained her United Cup form throughout the majority of the 2023 season.

She equalled her peak ranking of world No.3, won her second WTA 1000 title in Montreal, reached major quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and concluded it as runner-up at the WTA Finals.

"When you can start off the year on a good note it gives you a lot of confidence,” said Pegula, who shocked dominant world No.1 Iga Swiatek 6-2 6-2 in the 2023 United Cup semifinals.

“When you come out of off-season, you haven't played in a little bit, you feel kind of weird, uneasy, not sure where your game's at, so I think being able to start there gave me a lot of confidence, especially going into Australia and then for the rest of the year.

"After United Cup we were all still texting each other for like months, cheering each other on, looking at all the results, watching each other at tournaments and stuff like that.”

Both Fritz and Pegula covet the opportunity to represent their country in team competitions.

Fritz feels more fired up in this environment and elevates his level, while Pegula said she appreciates the different pressure it brings.

"We're always playing individually, so I think just playing on a team, where every match counts, makes it so much better,” Pegula said.

“When you're mixing the men and the women, it's also really cool to learn from them, see what they're doing well, and kind of give your strategic advice and listen to what they have to say, because we're all really great players.

“I think that made it really fun and special (at United Cup 2023) and we all respect each other a lot.”