“I can’t keep having these matches in Slams” – Disappointed Tiafoe back to drawing board after Shelton defeat

Frances Tiafoe was clearly disappointed and frustrated after his quarter-final exit at the US Open

Frances Tiafoe Frances Tiafoe (Chryslene Caillaud/Panoramic)

After losing in four sets to friend and compatriot Ben Shelton, Frances Tiafoe was understandably disappointed. He has made it to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam only three times, and just once has he progressed past that stage – in New York, last year, when he lost in an epic to eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz.

This loss against Shelton follows his straight-sets exit at Wimbledon to Grigor Dimitrov, and Tiafoe’s feelings were clear in his press conference.

“Just gonna learn from these moments. Obviously can’t keep having these matches in slams. Some things you gotta learn from. Obviously at the end of the day, it hurts now, play a lot of matches in this game. I still want to end the year strong and try to end in the top 10. Still having a great season.

“But, you know, obviously I want to perform really well in the slams. My exits in last two slams, both matches I didn’t play very well at all. That’s tough to swallow.”

He was frustrated also with his failure to close out the third set, which Shelton took after a tiebreaker, and then his slow start in what transpired to be the final set.

“I played a bad game in the opening game in the fourth. Yeah, I mean, obviously after a tough set, after such an up-and-down set, we both broke each other a lot. Not common in men’s tennis. How many breaks there was, pretty poor level both sides.

“Yeah, it was a little bit of a lull and unacceptable on my part.”

Tiafoe: I just didn’t play well enough

The 25-year-old was asked whether it had affected him going in as the favourite to win rather than in his usual position as the underdog.

“It’s a different seat to be in. Obviously Ben really wanted to win. Ben came out and played with a lot of energy. But it was different conditions today. It was super heavy. Not what I was accustomed to when I played at night earlier in the week.

“Yeah, it’s definitely different. Obviously a lot of times I play late in tournaments, yeah, I’ve been the underdog so I just go out and play. Kind of like how Ben did, play and swing and do whatever you want.

“But I mean, even so, I still put myself in positions and I just didn’t play well enough.”

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