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January 18, 2019

Frances Tiafoe

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

F. TIAFOE/A. Seppi

6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much fun are you having?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, quite a lot of fun. Quite a lot of fun for me. Definitely hurts, very tired right now. But, yeah, it's unbelievable.

Q. Seppi was four times in the last 16, in the last two editions. You did stop him. What was the most difficult part of the match? When you saved the breakpoint, you were up 5-4, down Love-40, that was an incredible rally? Do you remember that?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I definitely do. That was a huge turning point for me. He breaks there, he can say he wins the match. Yeah, I mean, that was a huge hold for me to extend the match.

Yeah, he makes you play a ton of balls. He's so solid. He's one hell of a player.

Q. Was there a special key for your win?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I'm just taking it. I'm taking the game to the guys. I'm playing very aggressive, trying to put things in my terms. Also I'm competing really well, staying in the rallies. Not bailing out. Going point in, point out.

Q. Did anything feel different to you coming into this tournament, any reason that you had extra belief mentally, physically? Anything that let you think this was going to be a special tournament for you?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I didn't win a tennis match going into this week, so no. But, no, I mean, yeah, I had a great off-season. I worked hard. Yeah, I mean, I had a great year last year, so obviously you grow confidence from that.

Look, I mean, again, I've said in interviews before, I feel like I have a chance against anyone when I step on the court. I love playing in big stages. I always play well. Whether or not I get the win or not, it's irrelevant. I always play a good match. I usually put myself in a position to win the match. Lately I have been doing it, since last year.

Now I just kind of thrive for those moments, I want those moments.

Q. Grigor next. You played a tight one with him in Canada last year.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, it should be good. We're good friends. Yeah, he's going to come out obviously just competing like crazy. So am I. It's a big match to get to the final eight. Obviously he made the final eight last year, so he wants to get back there, start the year off well, get back to where he deserves to be, which is top five, in my opinion.

Yeah, again, I'm not going to be an easy out for him.

Q. Talk about your off-season, what you did, where you did it.
FRANCES TIAFOE: I did my first two weeks at home in D.C., kind of just my fitness guy, Thomas Costello, doing two days with him. Not really playing much tennis. Had a great foundation with him. Then I went to Orlando, the USTA there, Lake Nona. Played a bunch of guys, playing outside.

I thought I had a perfect balance. I came into the new year definitely excited to play tennis.

Q. What is Lake Nona like? A lot of money has been put into that facility. Does it help?
FRANCES TIAFOE: It's a big facility, that's for sure. But yeah, I just like it. I like all the guys there. Makes it fun for me, especially in the off-season. We all kind of push each other pretty well. I mean, I really enjoyed my time there. It was definitely a good couple weeks I had there training.

Q. What sort of feedback have you gotten from folks back home or maybe other players in the locker room about your celebrations that we've seen?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Guys are loving it. Fabio is loving this one (indicating). Guys are really liking that one. Be interesting to see if guys want to try them. Just try to bring something in tennis. Obviously you guys know I'm a big basketball fan. Love the team celebrations.

If I get a chance to do it on a big court, big situation, you got to bring it up. It's not pre-med. I don't know what celebration I'm going to do. I got a lot of them that I know (smiling).

Yeah, it kind of just happens.

Q. What was the celebration today? What is the inspiration?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Another LeBron one today. Yeah, kind of just what he does.

Q. What do you like about LeBron?
FRANCES TIAFOE: What don't you like about LeBron? Not just an unbelievable athlete, but what he does outside playing basketball. The school he made, putting 50 mill into that, that's unheard of. He's an absolute icon. Everything he brings, how he carries himself. Never having trouble with the media, never done anything wrong. He's a superstar for a reason. He's LeBron James for a reason.

Q. Good day for Americans overall, Amanda.
FRANCES TIAFOE: She's unbelievable.

Q. What do you make of her?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, she's got everything. She's got everything. It's like she's been a veteran, she's going out here and Sabalenka is playing great tennis, she routined her like it was nothing. It was barbecue chicken for her. It's unbelievable.

She's quite quiet. We haven't spoken too much. I always try to get her to laugh or something, try to get her to crack a little bit. She's a bit shy.

I mean, she goes about her business every day, extremely professional. Yeah, she's going to have a hell of a career. You guys are going to be talking to her a lot. Sky's the limit for her.

Q. What did you make of her being 17, being that mature?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I think it's nuts, man. When I was 17, I was off the charts, all over the place. I still am all over the place.

No, she's great. She's great. I'm extremely happy for her. Extremely happy to see all these young guys, even from the men's side, but even the girls, seeing what they're doing. CoCo coming as well, Whitney Osuigwe. They're going to make me look pretty bad here in a second.

Hopefully they can just keep going, and when Serena comes, we have someone to fill in that position.

Q. The new format of the Davis Cup in November, if the American federation calls you, would you go? Are you interested to go or not?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Davis Cup, you're playing for your country. You got to go. Obviously it's late in the season. Obviously something that you want to be resting. Heard it's during Thanksgiving. Obviously I won't be having turkey during that time. It's Davis Cup. It's not every day.

Q. It's a new format.
FRANCES TIAFOE: That's irrelevant. I want to go win a Davis Cup title. I had a tough loss in my debut, losing the fifth rubber. I would love to hold the Davis Cup title.

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