home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 22, 2019

Frances Tiafoe

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

R. NADAL/F. Tiafoe

6-3, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you prepare to play Rafael Nadal? How was that as an experience?
FRANCES TIAFOE: It was tough. It was tough definitely. I mean, he's a hell of a player, man. Yeah, I mean, his ball is kicking up like crazy. Court was really slow. Yeah, it was just tough to really hit the room. I felt like I was hitting a lot of balls long early. Probably overplaying. I got in a decent rhythm there for a hot sec, but he's just tough and he's played on that court, so he's more comfortable than me.

Q. What do you do outside of tennis, do for fun, your hobbies?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I love basketball, so I'm at a million NBA games, especially when I'm home. Big Washington Wizards fan. Love hanging out with my friends. See my girlfriend when I'm not playing. Yeah, I mean, other than that, I'm pretty easygoing. Extremely lazy, so I wouldn't mind doing like a Netflix and chill, watch some shows.

Yeah, it's tough to get me sight-seeing or stuff like that. I'm too lazy for that.

Q. You got down an early break in each set. How close do you feel you were in most of the games?
FRANCES TIAFOE: A lot of the rallies, I had that one, I forget, whether it was 3-2 or 4-3 in the second, but I had a couple breakpoints there. He started missing some first serves. I think if I probably could have broken there, you know, get going a little bit.

It's just tough. When you're playing a guy that good, you can't even get some holding pressure on him, it's tough. Again, it was tough. My body was definitely hurting. I'm more or less happy to be done.

Q. Did you feel like you were starting sets cold or he was coming out hot?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Kind of a combination. Some balls, got caught, didn't move. He definitely made more returns than he did when he was up a break. Granted, I got in a good service rhythm when I was down a break. Started serving canons. Where was that when it was 0-0? It is what it is.

Q. Seemed like you were hitting it a little bit long.

Q. Do you feel you were a little bit too pumped up?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No. I mean, I just wasn't trying to run as much. I mean, he's giving me shots to hit. I was going for the right shots. Overcooking it a little bit. Court is definitely way bigger than other courts I played on. Obviously he stands farther back. I felt like I had more court than I actually did.

But, I mean, he did an unbelievable job of defending, obviously making me play the extra balls. He's done that for I don't know how many years. Hats off to him. He played a great match. See what he can do. Hopefully he can hold it.

Q. Quite a bit of politics going on in the background of this tournament. Some people on the players council think there should be a change of president running the ATP. Do you have any thoughts on the president's job, how the tour was going?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I love Chris. I love Chris. Me and Chris are great friends. I think he's done an unbelievable job. Obviously coming from a NextGen guy, what he's done for us, trying to build something for us, build a platform for us, get a little more known, more or less, however you want to put it.

I think he's done a great job. Seems like he's doing everything he can to get the ATP, you know, better and better, better known. I think he's doing a great job. If you ask me, I'd say he should stay.

Yeah, I just love my banter with him, as well. I'd miss him if he was gone.

Q. What a fabulous run for you. If you try to step back and put it into a phrase or two, what phrase would you use?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I don't even know what I would say to you, man. It's crazy. I didn't think any of this was going to happen. If you would have asked me during the off-season, You're going to play Rafa in the quarterfinals on Rod Laver with Rod Laver watching, I probably would have laughed. It's unbelievable. I'm just happy this didn't happen on my birthday. But to be in a quarterfinal at a slam, knowing I can do this, that's the biggest thing.

Q. What went through your mind when you saw Laver?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I thought it was cool. Saw the eyes close at one point. Don't fall asleep on me. I was about ready to say something, you know what I'm saying?

No, man, it was cool. It was cool that he was out there. Yeah, I mean, he's a legend of the sport, and so is Rafa.

Q. You're the U.S. No. 2. At what point are you no longer on the come up and you're up?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Oh, damn, yeah, I'm definitely still on the come up, man. Yeah, that's a great question, man. I don't know when I want to say it, when I got to say the come up's over. Such a good hashtag, flows so well.

That day's definitely coming. You're right. It is definitely coming. I guess you just got to wait for the Insta post when it comes up.

Q. Is there a particular lesson you think you might have learned tonight, whether it's playing Nadal specifically or the idea of the big court, the center stage? Is there something you think you might be able to take away from tonight that you can use to build on moving forward?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, probably holding serve in the beginning of sets, that would probably help, right?

No, seriously, on a serious note, I think, I mean, look, I love the big stage. I don't feel like I shy away from it at all. But kind of just, I mean, honestly really I'm not really mad at the way I played all, other than maybe bringing a little more intensity early. I was a little, you could say, flat-footed early in each set.

Granted, you know, some guys would miss some returns maybe if he hits a good serve. But he's going to make you play. Just being more alert early probably and just handling things early on, not just waiting for him to miss because you can't expect him to.

Q. Stefanos said after he beat Roger that he was inspired by watching you beat Grigor. Did you see his win over Roger, and did that give you any added inspiration, an all NextGen semi?
FRANCES TIAFOE: That would have been crazy. I mean, yeah, me and Grigor, crazy match. But, yeah, I think all the NextGen guys are playing a joke, you know what I mean? De Minaur had a great start. Tsitsipas is still in, unbelievable start. Me as well. Shapovalov is obviously playing great.

It's just nice to be a part of this group. To say I'm a part of it, I mean, hopefully we can keep this up. It's not like any of us talk about it, that we're trying to do X, Y and Z. It's kind of just happening. We're definitely paying attention to each other. We don't want to do worse than the other person. Kind of pissed that Tsitsipas is in and I'm not. It is kind of what it is.

Again, it's good blood.

Q. Do you think one of those guys could go deeper at slams here? Tsitsipas could win one in four days. Do you think this is the year for one of you guys to take home the trophy?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Why not? I think the game's definitely heading that way. Rafa and these cats ain't getting any younger, you know what I'm saying?

Look, I mean, we're playing good, playing good. Put us in the right situation at the right time, we'll take it. Granted, I didn't tonight, but it's coming.

Q. What either surprised or impressed you about Nadal?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, I don't know if he surprised me. I knew what he was going to bring to the table. I knew he was going to bring crazy intensity, I knew the ball was going to be jumping. I knew if he got hold of a forehand, it was going to be barbecued chicken. But point in, point out, I've never seen someone so locked in.

I think that's what I take from him. I think that's what I've been able to put in my game a little bit, playing a little more less loose points. Still not as tight as him. That's what you saw in certain situations today.

Q. Now that you've made the slam quarterfinal, do you think you could use this to get a meeting with LeBron?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Man, forget about the slam. I thought once I had the celebration the first couple times, I thought I was going to get a meeting with him. I would love to meet him one day. That would mean the world to me. I think just kind of talk, pick his brain, see everything he's accomplished, just on and off court, to be just half the guy he is would be unbelievable. I look up to him with everything. He's a true role model.

Q. Somebody said LeBron texted you or was that Instagram?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No, if he texted me, I wouldn't be here right now. I'd be FaceTime'ing him, if he had my number.

Q. Just the Instagram?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, just the Instagram comment. Yeah, 'the silencer', that's all he said. That's it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297