In a major upset, 26th ranked Frances Tiafoe defeated Rafael Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round of the US Open
It was the first time this year that Rafael Nadal was beaten in a grand slam competition.
“Don’t even know what to say right now, I’m beyond happy,almost in tears,” Tiafoe seeded 22, said in an on-court interview.
“Can’t believe it. He is definitely one of the greatest of all time. I played unbelievable tennis today but I really don’t know what happened.”
“When I first came on the scene I felt like a lot of people had low expectations of me and how I would do,” he said.
“I wasn’t ready for it mentally,wasn’t mature enough for those moments.”
“But these last couple of years I’ve been able to develop and I have a great team behind me. I’ve been putting my head down and I’m happy with where I am in life.”
Frances Tiafoe believes a new generation of players is ready to take over from tennis’s “Big Three”
Tiafoe says the likes of himself and Nick Kyrgios, Carlos Alcaraz, and Jannik Sinner are ready to seize their moment.
“I think Nick (Kyrgios) playing great tennis is great for tennis. You see him packing stadiums when he’s playing singles, doubles, whatever. Alcaraz is a great personality. Sinner. Myself. People get behind me.
“You know the American guys, Tommy (Paul), (Taylor) Fritz. There are a ton of guys playing great tennis.
“Don’t think it will be a big three. It will be like a big 12. There’s a bunch of guys playing great tennis.
“It’s good. For sure you’ll probably have someone who probably like will cement and be at the top. That’s still kind of happening. We’ll see who that person’s going to be.”
Nadal is due to become a father for the first time in the coming weeks
“Decisions will be made based on how everything goes in my personal life, which comes before my professional life.”
He added: “It’s been a bit difficult for a few months but I want to finish the year with something very important that is my first child.”
“We can make lamentations or we can complain now about a lot of things, but I don’t think that’s going to change any situation,” he told reporters.
“We can’t find excuses. We need to be enough (of a) critic with myself. That’s the only way to improve or that’s the only way that I understand you are able to find solutions.”
“I need to go back. I need to fix things. I don’t know when I going to come back. I going to try to be ready mentally. When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there,” he added.
Tiafoe is Nadal’s junior by 12 years and on Monday, the Spaniard admitted that age is becoming a factor.
“Was not able to push him back. Tennis is a sport of position a lot of times,” he added.
“If not, you need to be very, very quick and very young. I am not in that moment anymore.”
Rafael Nadal hopes to comeback this year
Despite his doubts over his future plans, Nadal told Spanish media that he won’t rule out playing again this year.
“I will do a mini pre-season to finish the year in Europe with good feelings and that is what we are going to try. There is a tournament ahead if everything else goes well,” he said.
Lebron James congratulates Frances Tiafoe
“Man, I was losing it in the locker room. Bro, I was going crazy,” Tiafoe said of James’ message.
“I mean, that’s my guy. So to see him post that, I was like, ‘Do I retweet it as soon as he sent it?’ I was like, You know what, I’m going to be cool and act like I didn’t see it and then retweet it three hours later.”
Tiafoe said his moment of victory “felt like the world stopped.”
“I couldn’t hear anything for a minute…It was such a blur,” he said.