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August 29, 2017

Frances Tiafoe

New York, NY, USA

R. FEDERER/F. Tiafoe

4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about the beginning of the fourth set, how difficult it might have been to begin the fourth set after being two sets down.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, yeah, it was like, geez, those two sets went by pretty quick. Then I was, like, trying to have fun with it. Yeah, I was back in it.

Q. In the last two months you've made global awareness. Four months ago you're in Sarasota, Florida, all the screaming on the court. You respond, It can't be that good. People knew you had a sense of humor. Tonight you made global awareness that you can play this game with the best. So what was it feeling like out there?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I came out there, really didn't feel nervous at all. Obviously how many years have I been watching the US Open? Since I was a little kid. I always dreamed of being on center court, playing the best in the world. Finally happened so I was ready for it.

It was reality. I was really excited for it. I was going to give my best stuff no matter what, and that's what I did.

Q. Did you have a word with your dad yet?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Right behind you, yeah. Not much, gave me a hug. I'm sure we'll be talking about this one for a while.

Q. Obviously not the result you wanted, but what do you think the potential is being something you look back on as a landmark in your career?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, something I'll be thinking about for a while. Definitely give me a lot of motivation to work harder, just try to keep getting better. I want to win matches like this.

Yeah, I mean, for a while I feel like I can play against anyone in the world. Now it's a matter of finishing these types of matches. I've been playing against really good guys. Put myself in positions to win. Eventually I'll win more than I lose these.

Q. Were you able to feed off of the crowd?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, the crowd was getting behind me pretty good. I like to get the crowd pretty into it, especially in the fourth, when I was playing pretty much lights out. Yeah, I got them into it pretty good. I was getting pretty hyped. They were liking that. I'm pretty sure they would have liked me to have sneaked that one out. But, yeah, the guy's just too good.

Q. What inspired you to write the piece in the Tribune?
FRANCES TIAFOE: My agent called and said, Are you doing it?

I said, Yeah, I'll do it.

Q. Roger is widely considered to be the greatest of all time.
FRANCES TIAFOE: He is the greatest, yeah.

Q. What makes him so tough?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Go down the list. I mean, can't read his serve. Jumps on the return ball better than anyone. Doesn't give the baseline up. Yeah, I mean, takes time away. Best mover, by far. Yeah, just sees the game completely different than everybody else.

Yeah, I mean, he's unbelievable.

Q. Did you sense his decision making changing, tactics, during the match?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, yeah. I felt like when I was playing well, I was controlling most of the rallies. When I was hitting the ball big, he wasn't really doing much except staying steady with me. When I was playing well, I was controlling the rallies and putting the most pressure on him. If I stepped back a little bit, he took that and ran with it.

Yeah, that's what he did. He won by the skin of his teeth.

Q. Top guys have these all-around games. How important is that for you as you continue to develop your game?
FRANCES TIAFOE: That's why they are where they are. That's why they've achieved what they've achieved. I'm just trying to get to that point, where I can hit any shot at any time, get all the tools. That's when you're pretty tough to beat. When you know you have all the shots, it's pretty easy to play.

He just puts it all together. He's been doing this for a couple years. He knows what to do in the tough situations.

Q. (Indiscernible), what do you think of that idea and would that be something you would entertain years down the road?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Don't really think about that much. I mean, that's pretty cool that they have that. A name is a name end of the day for me.

Q. What do you think will stick with you longer, the sense of pride on how you played or the disappointment in the result?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, probably pride. Obviously I'm pretty disappointed, as well. I just went 6-4 in the fifth, at night, first time ever an Ashe, greatest player of all time.

At the same time, if you were winning 6-1 in the fifth, you know the things I would be saying to you guys. Not satisfied, but I think it's a pretty good showing.

Q. Roger patted you on the chest as you were walking off the court. What did he say to you?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Great year so far. You're only getting better and better. Keep going, you're going to have one hell of a future.

Q. You saw the draw, Roger Federer, what was the first thought going through your head? How did you prepare for the match?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Well, everybody on my team knew. They weren't trying to tell me. A couple guys in the practice courts, You have a good first round.

I was like, Okay.

Baghdatis was joking with me. You know who you play?

Like, No.


Okay, cool.

Tipsarevic was like, You ready to play at night?

Okay, someone is messing with my head.

I saw it. I was like, Yeah, I mean, let's have a thriller. Let's battle. I played him once before. I thought I was in the match. I'm always going to give my best stuff no matter who is on the other side. After a while, it's just a tennis match. You want to beat everyone you play. After a while, you almost forget it's Roger Federer. At the end of the day you're just hitting the ball on the other side of the net.

Q. When you were young, did you ever imagine having a moment like this?
FRANCES TIAFOE: It's the only reason why I play the game. Every day I thought I would be here. Always told my dad that. Yeah, finally had the opportunity to do it. It means the world to me. I'm happy that my brother, my mom, my dad, everyone got to see it.

Q. What did Roger say to you at the net?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I just said that a minute ago.

You're going to be a great player. You have a bright future ahead. Just keep doing the work. He said I've had a great year so far.

Q. A moment ago you mentioned going on the practice court getting ready for that. After tonight, is it going to be easier to go on that court and push yourself harder because you got a taste of it now?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, you can say the same thing when I lost 7-6 in the fifth. All these matches make you want to get back on the practice courts. At this point, you know, my career so far, I wouldn't say losing this match that I'm going to want to practice this much more. I want to be No. 1 in the world. I want to win Grand Slams. I want to be on the top of the game. I always have motivation to play again. Yeah, it obviously helps. But until I do that, I'm always going to be motivated to play.

Q. You just mentioned what Roger Federer said to you at the net. Given that you just asserted earlier he is the greatest player of all time, what does that make you feel to hear those words coming from him, that he's followed you?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, right after, you don't really process it. It's kind of just, obviously you're not happy. You're not really hearing it.

But when you calm down, it's unbelievable hearing something like that from him. I mean, for sure he's the best player of all time. He's also a nice guy on tour. Always says the right things, always does the right things. He's like a great ambassador for the sport. Means a lot that he said that to me, that he thinks I have a future. That definitely gives me some confidence.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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