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May 25, 2015

Frances Tiafoe


M. KLIZAN/F. Tiafoe
6-2, 6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Overall, how would you sum up your experience out there today? How did it feel?
FRANCES TIAFOE: It was great. I had a blast. I didn't play my best today. He's playing very well this year. I knew it was going to be a tough match. In the third set I started playing a little better and had some opportunities. The crowd was great. Hopefully I can play again in the main draw next year.

Q. Did it feel different at all than you thought it would? Going out there, first Grand Slam match, were there nerves? How did you feel overall?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, for sure, definitely came out pretty nervous. I handled it all right. Not great, but, you know, it's still a learning experience, having the opportunity to play here in the French.

Q. What's it been like for you being around the locker room, being in a major, just the entire major experience apart from just today's match?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, it's definitely different, walking around, seeing the greats in the locker room. I'm used to seeing so many juniors, and I don't really say that much because I don't want to piss off anyone, just be in the corner. But, no, it's great. Definitely fun. I think I deserve to be there.

Q. You didn't walk up to any other players or say hello, introduce yourself, that sort of thing?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Outside of the Americans, not really (smiling).

Q. What did you learn from the match today?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I need to get a lot better (laughter). There are some things I need to work on, and obviously I need to get better to be playing at his level or higher. But definitely I learned that -- yeah, that's pretty much what I learned.

Q. Your body language in the first set seemed like you were frustrated. How were you feeling?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, obviously I didn't want to get down too early. I wanted to stay on serve. Got broken kind of early. Had some chances to break back and didn't. I'm still young, I still show emotions a lot when I'm out there.

Q. Is there anything that surprised you over the past couple of days about being in this place in a Grand Slam tournament? Anything different?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No, pretty much everything I expected. You're going to be around the greats. You're going to hit with a lot of good pros and have an opportunity to get better every day, hitting with players that are better than me and higher ranked. Pretty much everything I expected. Nothing new.

Q. Is there a particular area of your game that you want to improve?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Everything can get better. But serve and, say, volleys.

Q. Would you still call clay your favorite surface? If so, how nice was it for you to debut at the French Open? You don't hear about Americans saying red clay is their favorite often.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I really like the clay. It's pretty fun to play on. Sliding is pretty cool. It was definitely great having my first debut here. Hopefully in New York I can play main draw there, too.

Q. Where did you feel the gap most between you and Klizan? In terms of the other guys you played before, what was the biggest step up that he presented? He's obviously top 40s, won a few ATP titles. Where did you see that in the match most?
FRANCES TIAFOE: He's pretty solid. Doesn't give you much. I mean, there is no like loose errors, pretty solid from everywhere, moves well. Every time he has a chance to attack he hurts you. Doesn't let you get back on offense. He's a great player, and best of luck to him the rest of the way.

Q. I think last year you said you had a locker close to Murray or something like that. What is it like walking in as part of the main draw as opposed to being there as a junior?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Definitely a lot different. In juniors, like a lot of people were looking up to me last year when I was the 1 seed. Now I'm looking up to everyone here. It was definitely a lot different. But, I mean, I've got to get used to it, I guess.

Q. Can you just walk us through your schedule for the next few weeks and sort of your plan moving forward in Europe?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I'm going to play some, two challenges in Italy, and I'll probably go back home. Maybe I will play Wimbledon quallies. I don't know yet. Probably go back home after that.

Q. What was the reason for your coaching switch?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, I just thought -- I mean, I want to be great, and I think you've got to work with great coaches to be a great player. José Higueras has coached a lot of great players, and I think it was just the right move to work with him.

Q. What are the biggest advantages you can get from working with the USTA?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Good coaching. Like they help a lot, fitness coach, travel and whatnot, basically they cover a lot and they help me in all aspects.

Q. When you were younger did you ever consider making that move? If you thought about it, why didn't you do it earlier?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Pretty comfortable at home when I was young. Still am young, but didn't really do much. I didn't think it was that big of a deal when you're younger. Now if you want to get to the next level you need great coaching and great advice.

Q. How has all the attention been for you since you went through your run on the green clay? You've done a lot of interviews. How has the spotlight been for you so far?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, it's been a good amount of interviews and whatnot. Yeah, it's always nice, but you've got to also know where you stand and know there is a long way to go from where I really want to be. I never really let any of that get to me, because I know it still is a long way for me to get to the top. It's always nice to have some attention.

Q. Other than probably the current American guys, did anyone like Agassi or Andy Roddick reach out to you and congratulate you and give you advice or anything like that?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No, no, I wish, but, no. I don't really know any of them.

Q. Does being here, seeing your name in the 128-person draw at a Grand Slam make the sort of dreams you feel more real? That you know you are there on the same piece of paper as whoever is going to win this tournament?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, it's pretty cool. At the draw ceremony I was pretty nervous. Didn't want to play any of the greats. Pretty happy with the first round. Played on a decent court. It was definitely a decent experience and I had a good time.
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