Monday, September 6, 2021

New York, New York, USA

Frances Tiafoe

Press Conference


4-6, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Give us your thoughts on the match.

FRANCES TIAFOE: Obviously a very tough match. I thought we both played pretty well. Felix served insane tonight. I think that was the biggest difference, every time he needed it he came up with an ace or unreturnable, which made it very tough.

But, yeah, I think that was the biggest difference. He served incredible tonight. From the back it was kind of even, but he just served incredible tonight.


Q. I know you expect a lot of yourself, you expect to be playing in these matches. Also been a lot of expectations put on you from the outside. Curious how that has affected your journey the last few years.

FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, like my journey has definitely been interesting. I had a great start of my career. I was flying up the rankings. I was, before I was 21, 28, 29 in the world. I got complacent, got pretty comfortable.

I thought I was just going to just keep going. It doesn't work like that. Same work you did to get up there, the same work you need to keep going, keep working harder, so on and so forth.

Now I'm on a rebuilding stage. I'm playing great tennis. I don't think my ranking states anywhere near how I'm playing. On any given day I can beat anybody in the world. I know that.

I'm happy where I'm at today. I think right now I'm arguably playing some of the best tennis of my life.

Q. Given the way you have played and the wins you have had since grass until now, how does that inspire you to keep going, that you can do this not just at Grand Slams but all the time?

FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, no, definitely gave me a second wind, for sure. I've been beating a lot of quality guys on a normal basis. In slams, Masters Series, whatever the case may be. It's been great.

It feels nice to know I can play like this, good tennis, not just so sporadically but week in, week out. But, yeah, so I just want to kind of keep it up and not be so up and down, kind of just be a little more consistent and just bring the tennis.

Obviously it's been helping a lot lately playing with fans and stuff like that. I feel definitely more pumped up to play and ready to go.

I'm just in a good place. I'm just happy playing tennis out there. Happy you guys seeing what I can do out there and it's just fun.

Q. Your thoughts on three of you young American men getting to this point in the tournament. There is obviously a lot of hand wringing about the state of American men's tennis, but what do you take from this that three of you reached this level?

FRANCES TIAFOE: I think American tennis is in a great spot right now. A lot of guys playing great tennis.

Obviously we're always asked all the time when are you going to be like Agassi, Sampras, whatever that era. But ask Roger, Novak, and Rafa about that, it doesn't really matter.

Americans are playing great tennis. I'm happy to be a part of it. Yeah, and I think we're all going to hit a pretty good stride here soon. Reilly is playing great, Fritz is playing great, Jenson Brooksby. So, you know, and many others, you know, that I haven't named. Just happy to be another one.

But again, I'm on my own path and everybody's on their own path so everybody will take different times here. We all kind of popped off, but everyone's gonna do something special, I'm sure.

Q. This run you had this week and even the emotions of being in front of the fans, doing the LeBron, celebrating, how will that carry over into next season for you?

FRANCES TIAFOE: There's still a lot of tournaments for this season. But, man, it's great. It's great. This is good to like see the crowd, enjoy what I'm able to do.

I feel like when I'm out there playing, I feel like it's bigger than a tennis match, win or lose. I mean, it got me super emotional, I almost cried walking off court. Not just even because I lost, it's just the amount of love they showed me walking off the court. Losing a tennis match is almost irrelevant sometimes what the outcome is. I'm bouncing a ball going into the breaker, deuce or whatever in the third, and I have four kids saying, Whatever happens, you're my inspiration, like that's what it's about.

You're going to win tennis matches, you're going to lose tennis matches. That's the shit that matters. That's why I wake up every day and I go crazy, I do all that, because a little kid is going to remember that. Parents are paying their hard-earned money to put their kids in seats and watch it. I just want to put on a show.

Don't get that twisted as I'm just out here trying to be an entertainer. I want to win just as bad as the next person. I still generally want to win. I want to have fun and I want everybody in the crowd to enjoy those three hours, four hours, however long I'm out there as well.

Q. Tiebreaker in the third set it was obviously super close and you mentioned how well he served. Was there anything in that tiebreak that maybe you wish you would have done different? Or was his serving just kind of a little too...

FRANCES TIAFOE: It was just tight the whole time. I mean, the only point I would probably take back, maybe that 3-2 point where I barely missed a dropshot on top of the net, I could be 4-2 serving instead of 3-All. That's the only point really.

Maybe don't go for the dropshot or maybe just make the dropshot. But other than that, it was so tight, like what are you going to be pissed about, you know?

I mean, he had two hits at first serves. To throw off his rhythm, stayed really far back at 6-5, you know, I barely missed return, then he hits another good serve. Just too good.

Sometimes it's like that, tennis is like that. Usually honestly I like to say when I'm battling that hard, a lot of times I get over, but today he was just too good, and I have to be able to live with it.

Q. I wanted to point out there are 33 five-set matches at the US Open which is approaching the all-time record, also 10 comebacks from two sets to Love down. I wanted your take, is there something unique happening this year? Are you aware of it? Do you think there is any reason it's this kind of a chaotic tournament?

FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, I think there is numerous reasons. You don't have Roger, Rafa. Guys are hungry, guys are like, The fucking Open, I got to fucking push.

So I think that has definitely a part to play in it. Level of tennis is high. Anyone can beat anyone. Look, I'm 50 in the world. I'm beating all these kind of guys.

You have qualifiers in the run of 16, like tennis, like there is no bumps. Everyone's good. Like if you don't show up to play, you can lose to anyone.

I mean, I definitely think guys are trying extra hard, because there is Roger, Rafa. I truly believe that. I see guys foaming in the mouth, pretty funny to watch, I'm in the locker room cracking up. You have Seppi like 37 playing 15-13 in the fifth. What's that about? Crazy. His 19th US Open, he's putting his heart on the line. He's probably not doing that if he plays Rafa the second round, probably, like, I'm done.

It's unreal.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
112194-1-1063 2021-09-06 04:07:00 GMT

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