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November 6, 2018

Frances Tiafoe

Fiera Milano, Italy

F. TIAFOE/H. Hurkacz

4-1, 4-2, 2-4, 4-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did it feel with the format and the new rules and everything? What perhaps threw you off the most, if anything did.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, nothing really. Practiced it a couple of times.

I mean, there weren't that many lets. Actually, later in the fourth in the breaker there was a couple that went my way, and I'm like, yes.

But no, I mean, I like the rules. I mean, things were moving quick. In that third set, I'm like, 25 minutes. I'm like, wow. Okay. This is nice.

But I like the rules. I think it's fun.

Q. What did you make of the towel rack?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yes, only rule I don't like. I don't like. I mean, because especially we're going pretty quick, and then, you know, I walk pretty slow, so I knew I couldn't quite get there. I had some time violations.

But, I mean, I don't know what the other guys have said, but I kind of need the ball boys to get the towel for me.

Q. How did it feel, that tie-break to win the match? Because it was a pretty intense tie-break. Were you expecting it to be as it was?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I was expecting him to miss one first serve so I could get his second serve and hopefully end the match, but he didn't.

I mean, that format, things can get close quite quick. Things can be very one-sided the first two sets. I mean, I came out pretty hot and then -- I mean, but you're never really out of the match. You get one break. I mean, he serves well. Could easily have been playing a fifth set.

But, yeah, I mean, he served well and was too good for him.

Q. How much do you enjoy -- we know you like the big moments. How much fun is that for you to be with all the spotlights and everything, everybody here to watch you?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, it's easy for me to play good tennis here, and I knew I was going to play well. You put me on a court like that and a situation like that, I know I'm going to play well. I don't know if I'm going to win, but I know I'm going to play well.

I like it. It's what you work for to be in positions like this and playing in events like this. And, again, as I said, this week has been -- like, everyone, all seven guys who got in, you know, for us it's celebrating a good year, because obviously it was tough to get in here and it's a huge honor to play in this event.

Q. To play in event like this is like to be in a sort of holiday, or you take it very seriously, or the fun part is more important? What is your reaction to this?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No, it's serious, man. Very serious. I think all the guys who are here are here to win. We're all here to win.

Obviously I'm having fun. I'm having fun every week. But, yeah, I mean, a lot of the guys I'm close with here, so I'm having a really good time. But, yeah, save the holidays for the next couple of weeks. Take one more week seriously.

Q. What is your take on the coach's rule? The headset here is kind of a unique thing that you haven't used specifically yourself, but the women use it. I know there's a exhibition coming up too where men and women are going able to have coaches on court. What is your take on that?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I'm still up in the air with that. I feel like obviously team sports you have coaches, time-outs, and things like that, I like that.

But then, you know, part of me also feels, you know, like I kind of like the problem-solving in tennis. I think that's what makes it fun. You're out there for four and a half hours, one guy trying to figure out how you can break him down and you both adapting. I like that part a lot.

So I think it's definitely good, definitely something new. But I think I'm leaning more towards just two guys trying to figure out how I'm going to beat, you know, whoever is across the net.

Q. Would you prefer the coaches to be able to come to the court and speak to you or do you like the headset thing?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think I'll probably -- I didn't use the headset today, but I'll probably use it when I'm on the court, my coach would be on the court.

I think the headsets are probably more fun too. Crack more jokes and do more funny things, yeah, seeing him in the crowd. But I think headsets are more unique, especially where technology is going.

Q. Tomorrow you play a guy, top seed here, but the top 20 as well. So how exciting is it to play Stefanos?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, he's had a tremendous here. Hats off to him.

But, yeah, I think everyone has had a great year. It's going to be a good match. Definitely one of the most anticipated matches this week probably.

So, I mean, he's going to come after me, I'm going to come after him, and we're going to play some good tennis.

Q. I think if anyone goes undefeated here they can win more $400,000.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, thanks for putting that out there. No pressure. Jeez. (Smiling.)

Q. That was my question. Is that on your mind? Did you know that you could make that much money here?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I asked to Hyeon Chung, and, yeah, he was pretty happy taking that to the bank.

Yeah, obviously you know that coming in. But, you know, to go undefeated is pretty tough. Obviously Hyeon Chung did it, so it's not impossible.

But yeah, it's not easy. You know, I'm not really banking on that. Just trying to get out of the group first and see where I go from there. But starting my offseason with 400K would be pretty nice.

Q. What does it mean to you to be part of Next Gen and what does it mean for the year you've had? How much is it part of everything you've been aiming to do?
FRANCES TIAFOE: It's big. I mean, especially last year I missed it by one. I was pretty upset. I didn't want to come an alternate. Obviously being part of the inaugural would be pretty cool.

But this year was definitely a go, definitely a go, especially when you're so close to doing something and you don't do it.

And then, yeah, I ended up having an unbelievable season, thank God, because all of these other guys had an unbelievable season. I'm like, you guys want to slow down a little bit?

But happy to be a part of this. I think we have great guys coming up and hopefully we just keep pushing each other.

Q. What is your level of fitness right now? I know when we were at Laver Cup you were exhausted after Davis Cup and then obviously you've gone to the Asian swing and now you're here. Are you shutting it right down after this? Any exhibitions coming up?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I will not hit one tennis ball when this tournament is done, not one for two weeks.

I feel great. Obviously, yeah, it was definitely a long season, but, you know, I mean, that's tennis. I mean, it is what it is.

You know, I mean, if you go and lose a tennis match, no one -- it doesn't come up next to it that you're exhausted. So there's excused out here. Everyone is having the same exact year as you are. Once you get on the court, you put your heart in it and no excuses.

Q. Two rules that you would like to see also in the official tour and two rules that you wouldn't like to come in the official tour of this event? Your favorite two and your worst.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Definitely not the no-ad because, I mean, guys like Isner would be No. 1 in the world. There's no way you could beat him.

What are the other ones? Let's see. The towel I'm still indecisive about. Don't quote me on it. I'm indecisive. It's not a yes or no.

Then the lets, lets are cool. But at the same time -- I mean, I think lets maybe would be cool. So probably the lets.

And the Hawk-Eye. I like the Hawk-Eye. I think it's good. I think, you know, it takes the -- it's like the ref is not even there. He's completely irrelevant. So I like the Hawk-Eye. Obviously that's quite expensive, but I guess that's for ATP to handle it. I don't know.

Q. No human?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No. No human. No.

Q. Did you get to vote today?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No. I did not get to vote unfortunately. Pretty bad. I actually didn't know it was today (laughing). I had no idea. Oh, jeez. That's pretty poor, Frances.

Q. Were you registered?
FRANCES TIAFOE: You said what?

Q. Do you have to register to vote?
FRANCES TIAFOE: You do, yeah.

Q. So are you registered?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No. No. (Smiling.)

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