“Having a player of Nadal’s calibre here is pretty legendary” – Hometown favourite Tiafoe hopes Spaniard’s Washington debut will inspire others
Hometown favourite Frances Tiafoe will take on young American Jenson Brooksby in his first match at this Citi Open this week
American Frances Tiafoe is playing his hometown event at the Citi Open in Washington DC this week. But most of the spotlight and buzz around the tournament has been around 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard is making his return to the tour for the first time since his semi-final loss at Roland-Garros and has for the tennis fans in the city buzzing with excitement.
Like the fans, Tiafoe is also thrilled to have the legendary Spaniard at his hometown event.
“It’s just unbelievable that he came here to D.C.,” Tiafoe said as being quoted by the ATP Tour website. “Having a player of his calibre here is pretty legendary. This tournament’s big. For guys around the area, to see pro players, this is the real thing.”
Tiafoe added that he was inspired by watching the likes of Juan Martin del Potro, Lleyton Hewitt and James Blake play in Washington while he was growing up and that he hoped Nadal‘s appearance this week would inspire several more like him.
“Coming here and seeing Del Potro win here, seeing James Blake, all these guys coming and playing here, legends, Lleyton Hewitt. You’re like, ‘Wow, I can maybe play with these guys one day, even be in the same locker room as these guys. I think those experiences definitely helped me to be the man I am today. I love this tournament being here, and I hope it can be here for years and years to come.”
Tiafoe to open Citi Open campaign against Jenson Broooksby
23-year-old Tiafoe is ranked 53rd in the world currently, and is seeded 16th this week at the Citi Open. After a bye in the first-round, he will meet the 20-year-old American wild card Jenson Brooksby, who scored an impressive 7-6, 6-3 win over former top 5 player Kevin Anderson.
Tiafoe could face second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, ironically coached by Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal now. and could only meet the legendary Spaniard if they both advance to the final in Washington this week.