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September 5, 2020

Frances Tiafoe

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

F. TIAFOE/M. Fucsovics

6-2, 6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Would you agree that that was one of your best matches?

FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, it was definitely one of my best performances start to finish. Yeah, it was just scary. I wasn't really making so many unforced errors. I was playing very aggressive. I mean, I was playing smart.

I wasn't trying to be too fancy. I just kind of got it done today. Very professional, very businesslike. Those are the kind of performances I'm looking forward to in the future.

Q. Why do you think that happened today?

FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, a bunch of variable things. But, you know, I really wanted it today. I lost to him a couple times before. It's a good opportunity for both of us. And I knew this is big, to get to the second week.

Yeah, I mean, I've never been second week here in the Open. I really wanted to keep this run going.

Q. How did you feel physically after your five-setter? Did you have any issues yesterday?

FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I was aching a little bit yesterday. I was kind of tired. But he played five hours. I had that in the back of my head. We both had some long ones.

I think whoever came out with the most energy early was going to be vital. That was my plan. Come out with a ton of energy. That's what I did. Worked out in my favor.

Q. The point that everybody is talking about, he said even if he couldn't win the match, he was happy to win the point of the day. Did you just have to tip your hat to him there?

FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, that ball off the net cord, I could have just hit it down the line for a winner. Obviously I had to go for the fancy shot. Yeah, he nailed it. I knew that was the only shot he could hit, and he nailed it.

My reaction -- I knew he was going to go for it. I couldn't believe he made it. That was special. He's a good friend of mine, so that was a good laugh.

Q. After the five-setter, did you and your coach take anything from that match that you wanted to do better that you were able to apply today?

FRANCES TIAFOE: Just the rollercoaster. (Indiscernible) two sets out out of nowhere after winning the first set. Kind of just keep your foot on the gas.

Yeah, I mean, just keep a high level the whole time. I did that to a different level today. I wasn't expecting that, so I'm pretty happy about it.

Q. You have your shirt there. I wanted to ask you, you're always talking about how important it is for you to give back to your community in tennis and here in D.C. as well. Hailey Baptiste is someone who talked to you a lot about your mentorship, what that has meant to her. How seriously do you take that relationship specifically, bringing younger African American kids up in tennis?

FRANCES TIAFOE: It's huge. It's huge. I wear it on my sleeve. I love it. Her, Robin, those two, all my guys. I'm not going to let those guys fail. I've been hanging out with Hailey a ton this week. Always want to see her win. Robin, I was in the bus with yesterday.

I was texting when I was in the bus yesterday for like 45 minutes, kind of asking her what she thought about her experience, what I thought, what she can do better.

Those two can be really special, especially they're from my area in the DMV. There's nothing I pride more than DC and Maryland and Virginia. I just want to see them win.

Whether it's tennis or whatever they're doing, I just want to see people of color in my communities win. If they get the inspiration from Frances Tiafoe, that's even better. That's why I try to give it my all. Again, I'm not doing it for me. It's way bigger than that.

Q. Why do you think it's important for younger players to have somebody who looks like them, understands their background, to be able to talk to, experiences at the tournament as a whole? Why does that matter, somebody who gets you in that way?

FRANCES TIAFOE: It's huge. They know you both came up the mud, like I like to call it. You both came up the mud, came up from tough times, going somewhere you never thought in a million years could ever happen. Going through the same situations, same problems. You can kind of relate.

I know everything they're going through. I physically went through that and mentally. So, you know, I can give them advice. And I'm an open guy. I'm such a relaxed guy. They know they can come to me with anything and I'll be there for them.

Just knowing that somebody is always going to be up for you, is damn near blood is huge. You build confidence from that. And I'm not sitting there judging them. They're going to get real info. I'm not going to tell them what they want to hear either.

I think it's a great source. I had a couple guys like that, as well, when I was coming up. Phil Simmons, guys like that. I think it's pretty big.

Q. What did you learn about Medvedev and what it takes for you to beat him from having played him most recently, the four-setter at this year's Australian Open?

FRANCES TIAFOE: I'm going to have to stay solid. I'm going to have to play smart. Can't give him too many unforced errors. Got to stay solid. Wait for my right ball, then go crazy.

But other than that, yeah, I mean, play the percentages. He's goings to play funky, return from far back, put that extra ball back in play. It doesn't look good, but he gets it in. He's tough. He's a tough out. He's confident right now. He's playing the best tennis of his life.

But again, I feel like when I'm playing the way I'm playing right now, I feel like I have a chance against anybody in the world. I felt that way for years. I'm starting to finally put it together again.

So if I can do that come Monday, it's going to be a good one.

Q. I was talking to Wayne yesterday. He was telling me about these runs he has you go on, no music, all by yourself. How difficult was that to get used to? Does he do anything more like that to force you to focus?

FRANCES TIAFOE: Right, Wayne's kind of all been about focus, yeah. It's all about focus for me. I'm very loosey-goosey guy. He's kind of getting me to dial it all in.

Working and talking for hours on end trying to get me in uncomfortable positions and focus, things that I don't want to do and focus. Do it to a high level.

Running on a treadmill for 30 minutes with no music was horrible, looking at a wall, absolutely horrible. Hitting up the middle and cross-courts, 30 balls in a row, only counting my 30. If I miss, start again. Things that are so simple, but you miss a couple balls, you get pissed off, you say, (expletive) this, you don't want to do it, but you got to get it done.

It's all focus. It's been helping me. Again, Wayne, he helps so much on the mental side, not just on the tennis side. He's a hell of a guy. He's a great addition to my team. Him and Zack work great together. I'm happy to have him. It's been a good run so far.

Q. You've been referred to as the last man standing, the last American man standing. What is your reaction to that going into this next match?

FRANCES TIAFOE: No, man, it's not a big deal. It's not a big deal at all. I think American tennis is in a great place right now. Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul, we have our vets, John Isner, Sam Querrey, all these guys.

Great teams around them. I think in a few years or even sooner, even now, guys are going to be ready to be in second weeks more readily. Me being here by myself, I don't feel alone. Those guys, they support me, I support them. Again, I just don't feel alone in it.

As far as me being the last one left, I'm just worried about myself and worried about trying to win a tennis match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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