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November 7, 2019

Frances Tiafoe

Fiera Milano, Italy


4-2, 4-2, 4-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This tournament really is Chris Kermode's vision. What did it mean to you and the other young players to have his support watching this? And what do you think this event will have as far as an impact on his legacy?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Look, me and Chris are really close. I like Chris a lot. I like what he's done. Really unfortunate to see him go.

Yeah, I think what he did here was great. I mean, I think a lot of guys have taken big positives from this, playing in this event. They have something to strive for rather than just trying to, you know, loosey- goosey around the tour. You know, if I do well here, I can end here. It's kind of like the Final 8, not the Final 8, which is pretty good for the young guys. I think you see a lot of young guys playing well because of it.

And also, watching these young guys, putting them on a pedestal, making them feel known, you know, it's not easy to get on the tour with Roger, Rafa, Novak unless you go for an outstanding run, which is not easy to take out these top guys. If you go for a big run in a Major or a Masters Series, okay, but that may not be the case.

You have, for example, Mikael, won a ton of matches in challengers, doesn't really have as much recognition, but in the NextGen stuff he does because of that.

You know, again, I'm sad to see Chris go, but I love Chris.

Q. You played already last year and this year. What is the difference for you? What do you like more of this year and what do you like less this year?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, both arenas, I mean, I like both arenas. Some things I like more from last year, and I like more stuff from here than last year. It kind of goes hand in hand.

I just like being in Milan and playing in Milan. Fans are unbelievable here. They really get behind me. You know, I feel like I play great tennis here. I'm just happy to be in the semis.

Q. But still there is a big, big difference. The restaurants, the facilities, the practice court is different. I'm just trying to understand, as a player, if you had next year to choose, to say, I'd like to play here or there, what would you do?
FRANCES TIAFOE: You're putting me in a tough spot here. I mean, personally I like to interact with my fans, so I liked that the practice court was right next to Stadium Court last year. I liked kind of it was all in one building. I thought that was pretty cool.

From a fan experience and for me, I had kids on my court all the time last year. I felt like there was a lot more, you know, things going around. But at the same time, it was tough to get around the grounds because kids and fans can storm me.

But I like this court more. I feel like the fans are much more on top of you. I feel like the attendance is better this year because of where it is, I feel like. But this year I have done better, so I'm going to say I like it here more (smiling).

Q. You found yourself in a similar situation to last year, a shot at the semifinals. Tonight it seemed like you really embraced the pressure moments of the match. What's been the biggest difference for you on the court?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, I have played in a lot of big situations this year. I have had some big breakthrough results, I felt. I felt like it was just another match today, which it was. It was kind of like a tournament. You lose, you're out of the tournament kind of thing.

I knew I had more experience than he did. I was just going to go and do what I do, and if he can match me, then let's battle. You know, he didn't have too many answers for me.

Q. You did start this year reaching the quarterfinals in Australian Open. After that, did you expect that the road was easier? Maybe to become top 10 or something like that? Are you a bit disappointed this didn't happen? Or no?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, definitely. I mean, you know, I definitely had higher expectations for myself this year, but it's a big learning year for me. I had to deal with a lot of expectations. I had to deal with being, you know, more recognized and things like that.

So it was tough. I felt like, you know, I definitely felt like I was going to have more results on a regular basis. Didn't happen. But all this is going to definitely pan out for me next year and for years to come.

Q. You play for United States against Italy in Davis Cup in Madrid.

Q. What do you expect? Because at the beginning of the year, everyone would have said, Oh, United States with Isner, players, indoor, much stronger than Italians. Now there is Berrettini and nobody could expect what's coming up. So what do you expect? How important is it for you to play if you will play singles?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I expect a great tie. Fabio, when he's locked in and wants to play, he can play anywhere. Berrettini is playing great. Seppi, also good. Bolelli/Fognini for doubles, they have won a Grand Slam.

It's going to be tough, the whole group. I think Canada is in our group, as well. It's going to be tough. Everyone is good now. Everyone can play good tennis.

It's late in the season. Guys are real fragile. So if you can stay there and stay locked in and play some good tennis, you can sneak some wins.

Q. There is one favorite out of those three teams or no?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Man, I want to say America. I mean, that's the plan for us to get out of the group, but we'll see. One match at a time.

Q. The one thing you said a few times going into your matches is we are going to battle out there and be really good friends after. Have you always been that good at separating personal and professional?
FRANCES TIAFOE: No, it just is what it is. You leave the tennis -- you respect those 90 minutes. If it's longer than that, whatever it may be, four, five hours.

Look, I mean, most of the guys here I'm really good friends with, so, you know, it's all good blood. We battle, and then after that, go and chill, hang out, do whatever.

But I think that makes good rivalries and good relationships that we can go and compete against each other. We have enough respect for each other that no matter what happens, we're going to be there for each other.

Q. Why are you wearing a Barcelona shirt? Are you a fan of Messi?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I went to the game. (Indiscernible) gave me some tickets to go to the game when I was in Barcelona, and they gave me a jersey. It says "Big Foe" on the back. The team. I went and did it, and, yeah, it's great.

Q. Barcelona won?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I didn't even know that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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