"You literally turn a celebrity overnight" - Tiafoe on his success

"You literally turn a celebrity overnight" - Tiafoe on his success

by Alfredo Bassanelli

Last last updated

Frances Tiafoe is playing a very strong brand of tennis since last year and it comes with age and maturity which he admitted is the main reason.

For years, Tiafoe looked like a very promising player with some spectacular performances but it happened every other day. There was no consistency and but there is now and asked about it Tiafoe admitted that it's mostly him maturing in a recent talk to the BNP Paribas Open.

Yes, I just think the biggest thing is maturity, honestly. Just more locked in with the day-to-day process. My game was always there, I was one of the first guys to make quarters at a Slam, at a young age. Learning how to handle it was different, for me. I feel like I had a lot of expectations on me at a young age, and I didn’t really know how to handle it. I didn’t really know how to take it on.

Tiafoe on maturing

A lot of things opened up for him after his US Open semi-final run last year. He took champion Alcaraz to a 5th set and he became a celebrity in the US overnight. Things dramatically changed for him as he explained how.

I became known on the world stage because of the US Open. I think with the Australian Open, I got some recognition but not much. My life changed dramatically [from the US Open], from the things I’m doing, from the deals I’ve had. Rooms I’ve been in. You literally turn a celebrity overnight just because of that win over Rafa [in the round of 16, en route to a semifinal]. That day especially, it changed my life.

The run changed him on the court as well as he's far more confident in his game. There is no panicking in his game and it's palpable. He feels it too calling it a snowball effect.

Yes, my confidence has snowballed. I know what to do to get ready, I know what I need, and I know that when I’m dialed in I’m one of the best players in the world and I’m a tough out in that sense. Since New York I’ve been a totally different player and I hold it on my shoulders.

One of the things Tiafoe always highlighted is his wish to inspire others to pick up a racquet. He always takes out time out of his schedule to interact with fans, and play with kids. He spent over 20 minutes last year in Estoril signing autographs after a match finished after midnight. He thinks it's a responsibility, especially to develop American tennis.

It’s great. It’s good for tennis, when you see Americans do well. I think that’s always been the thing: which American guy is going to be the next one to win a Slam? It’s gonna happen. It’s just a matter of time. Taylor’s No.5 in the world. I’m knocking on the door of the Top 10, so is Tommy, he’s right behind me.



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