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August 8, 2018

Frances Tiafoe

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

F. TIAFOE/M. Raonic

7-6, 4-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Do you think one of the keys to the match was how easily you held serve the first part of the match? Seemed like it took some pressure off because usually you're afraid to lose serve when you're playing a guy like Milos.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, definitely let me free up. I mean, I would say I shouldn't have even got him broken throughout the match.

I mean, you know, what happened when we came out, I thought that was poor from the ref.

But other than that, I served great. I served smart. You know, I wasn't trying to go big all the time. I was trying to mix it up and really not get him to have any rhythm there.

Q. Do you attribute that fiasco with the lights to that break point in the second set?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, yeah, a big part of it. I mean, I was waiting for about ten minutes. We was walking in circles. We kind of looked like clowns out there. I thought either we play, I mean, or sit down and wait for the lights. I mean, I thought there was an easy solution to that, but it's tennis. It is what it is.

Q. Those matches you've had in the past, you have had some matches where you fought with Roger at the US Open last year and gone five sets. How does that help you with moments like this when you're playing Milos and ones in the top 5? How do you get confidence from the lessons that you learned from the matches in the past and bring it forward?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I've had a ton of tough losses throughout my career. I mean, you know, '16, '17. I had match points in Indian Wells against Goffin in '18. I lost the doubles. I was six in the third in Acapulco. Obviously Roger in five. I mean, it was constantly a learning process for me.

Now, since my first title, I'm starting to get over the hump and beating these guys. I feel on any given day I'm ready to beat anyone. I'm not really nervous walking on the court. I feel right at home.

So it's a different mindset, I think.

Q. Do you feel like -- I mean, obviously it's not that simple, but do you feel like that mentality, that confidence is what has taken you to that next level, or there's also things that you have obviously been working on your game too?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, confidence, surroundings. I mean, being also -- you know, training out of home has helped me a lot this year, being in D.C. more, my friends, family. Yeah, it's all positive vibes with them. They're going to love me regardless I'm a tennis player or not.

That helps you because you get a sense of comfort when you're not playing. So I think that's been a huge part of it.

But, yeah, I mean, my confidence is pretty high right now.

Q. What is the camaraderie like around people like Denis, Stefanos, all these young guys? I know some of you guys were on the Laver Cup team together and got to spend some time getting to know each other. What is it like to grow through the sport with them?
FRANCES TIAFOE: It's crazy. I'm not really close with Stefanos. But, I mean, Denis and De Minaur, you know, it's not like we're even talking about it. It's kind of just happening.

You know, you see cats do well, and next week you're like, screw that. I'm going to do something.

It's not like we're sitting there talking about it, but it's been happening like that. So it's good. It's good. I mean, it's great to see. You can definitely see the space for us.

We're definitely feeling comfortable out here, and I don't think it's going to stop.

Q. It was wonderful to see you in Delray Beach winning the title. And as I recall when I was at the match, there was so many pro Canadians, and in the semifinal round on your way to the title you beat Denis. Did that give you a lot of confidence coming into Canada saying, okay, sometimes I got to win against a crowd that is not necessarily for me?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Denis has had some great wins. He's had a hell of a start to his career. He's a crowd favorite a lot of places he goes.

I don't really think that helped me today, but you know, I mean, I played at home last week and I know the pressure. I know what that feels like. I folded last week, so I knew -- I mean, it's not easy. So, you know, I used that to my advantage.

But, yeah, I felt like, you know, after a while against Denis, I got some crowd love a little bit, just a tiny bit.

Q. Winning that third set as sure-handedly as you did, is that a good motivator moving forward for the rest of the tournament?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, it's good. I mean, I didn't really have to stress. My stress levels are pretty low right now.

I mean, I would rather sneak out a six in the third and go, oh, you know. So I was able to, you know, make a lot of returns, hit some great shots and, you know, get off there with a comfortable third-set win. It helps you go into the next round.

Q. You talk about confidence, and I was wondering about things that can rock your confidence. Is it just your performance when you're on the court, the skill, or is it things like the lights or the crowd or something that can put you off mentally that can rock your confidence?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, obviously it helps, past results and stuff like that.

But for me, I mean, knowing if I'm training hard and hitting the ball well, that gives me a lot of confidence. You know, working hard and doing stuff like that.

And then there's times where, you know, things piss you off that happen. I think that's part of why I put up such a good third set. It had nothing to do with Milos or the crowd. I was so pissed at the ref that I was like, I'm not losing this frigging match.

Q. So it fires you up when things like that happen?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, more or less. Sometimes I can go sideways and you're talking about it -- and you're down 5-0, and you're still talking about what happened an hour and a half ago.

But luckily I used that as energy on the right way and not the other way.

Q. In the on-court interview there was some reference to a connection with you and Toronto?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, my girlfriend is Canadian. Yeah, she's -- yeah, she's from Toronto. America is still the best place, but, yeah, that's a whole different story.

Q. Can we be indiscreet and ask how the connection was made? How you met her?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Jeez, you want my social security number too?

No, it's -- yeah, you know, a friend, Vickie Duval -- I'm sure you guys heard the name -- said some '15, earlier in that year, said you all should date. And, you know, I thought, okay, that's quite bold.

But then, you know, obviously, you know, Instagram these days and, you know, slid in her DMS. And then she -- you know, it was quite weird. I don't usually do it, and we started talking a little bit, and then I asked for her number.

And I was like, okay, well, the US Open is coming soon. You're Canadian. Surely you came with your family or whatnot. She dodged it and tried to play hard to get, whatever, whatever.

And then, you know, she eventually came in the end. She watched me play. I think I played Georgia that year. It was '17. And then mixed doubles. I spent some time with her. She had some family in Harlem, so I did a little bit of hanging out with her. I was like, jeez, we're not even dating yet, and I'm already meeting your family. We're moving quite quick here, but that was another story.

And then the last day there, I was like, I'm going home and you're going back to Canada. You're going to Clemson soon. Actually, UCLA. But I was, like, well, I guess this is my chance. Can we date?

And then I actually did it over FaceTime. I didn't even do it in person. I'm not even going to lie. I was tight. I was tight.

She said yes. She had a long pause and then said yes. And then that's -- yeah, the story goes on.

Q. I was speaking with Stefanos yesterday and he said some of you guys from Laver Cup have a group chat going. Is that true?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Well, Stefanos wouldn't be on it.

Q. He kind of wanted to be in on that.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, because he's on Team World.

There was a great, you know, group chat that we had. Yeah, Laver Cup last year was unbelievable, unbelievable event, ton of fun.

You know, and Nick and Jack and, you know, Sam and John and Denis. I thought it was a great team. Even Kokkinakis was great.

The off-court celebrations, I thought that made the event. The crowd loved it. And it was great to compare two different personalities from, you know, Team Europe to us. You got clowns and then you got guys that are locked in. So it was fun.

But no, it's good, and I hope that event does well because I think it's great for tennis. I think we need more events like that, you know, really bring us together.

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