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Tiafoe: “I can play with the best obviously, and I’m capable of winning Grand Slams”

After a five-set loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the US Open semis, Frances Tiafoe believes he is ready to take the next step.

Frances Tiafoe, US Open 2022 Frances Tiafoe, US Open 2022 | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

It was both a heartbreaker and an inspiration. The performance of Frances Tiafoe at the 2022 US Open, where the 24-year-old American reached his first major semi-final and became the first black man to qualify for the last four at Flushing Meadows since American tennis icon and activist Arthur Ashe in 1972.

Though he fell in five thrilling sets to Carlos Alcaraz on Friday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium, 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3, he is still taking positives from a breathtaking run in New York.

“I just proved that honestly, I can play with the best obviously, and I’m capable of winning Grand Slams,” he said. “I think everyone knew when I play my best what I could do. But you know how close I can actually be to be one of those guys and to do this consistently.

“Obviously through my career I’ve been pretty sporadic of playing well, veering off for a while. I’ve always backed myself against the best players in the world. I’m doing it on a consistent basis, starting to beat guys more readily. Ready to take the next step.”

“I can play with the best obviously, and I’m capable of winning Grand Slams.”

— Frances Tiafoe

Tiafoe: “I’m a student of the game again”

The American is jazzed about the future, despite the fact that he wasn’t able to get past the talented Alcaraz on Friday night.

He told reporters he is fired up to get back to work and to continue to shore up what he perceives to be weaknesses in his game.

“I’m definitely falling in love with the process and doing the work much more,” he said. “I’m working smarter, I’m understanding, like. I’ve always, like, tried hard, but get my weaknesses stronger, breaking down my game a lot more, and I am a student of the game again.

“When I was younger, I was a big student of the game. Just get my weaknesses better, just keep trying to get better.”

Perfect in tiebreaks – 8-0

Thought it is probably not much of a consolation for Tiafoe, he did set a record on Friday night. Tiafoe became the first player to win eight tiebreaks during a single US Open run, breaking the previous record of seven. He did not lose a single tiebreak this year in New York.

“It’s not easy to go 8-0 in breakers,” he said. “I played a lot in this tournament. I wish the fifth was a breaker because maybe I would have been 9-and-0.”

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