US Open 2023, Frances Tiafoe Picks Up Where He Left Off

US Open On Monday, Tiafoe defeated Learner Tien in the first round with ease. Tiafoe had made a remarkable run to the semifinal in New York last year, where he faced Carlos Alcaraz.

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US Open Last year, beneath the lights and in front of a raucous crowd of 23,000, Frances Tiafoe played a match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium in an attempt to defeat eventual U.S. champion Carlos Alcaraz. No. 1 and the Open champion are in the semifinals.

He could hear Michelle Obama, who was seated in the President’s Box’s front row, encouraging him. In the lower bowl, there were NBA players, including Bradley Beal, who was then a star for Tiafoe’s favorite team, the Washington Wizards, as well as numerous of Tiafoe’s friends and family who were fortunate enough to score tickets for the largest game an American man had ever played at the United States. In years, open.

Tiafoe, a 25-year-old Maryland native who has propelled himself to a higher echelon of sports notoriety, had a slightly different experience on Monday in Ashe Stadium than he had the previous year. US Open Tennis enthusiasts can explore the grounds of the U.S. Open on the first day in search of up-and-coming players or watch a competitive four-hour battle between mediocre professionals up close.

A largely one-sided victory like Tiafoe’s 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 demolition of Learner Tien, a 17-year-old Californian who is certain to see brighter days at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the future, can lead to a dull,US Open half-empty atmosphere at the largest stadium in the sport. US Open Tiafoe thought that was a wonderful thing. Only a match that was much closer than Tiafoe, the tournament’s 10th seed and one of its most well-liked players, would have preferred would have increased the buzz US Open.

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However, even though the large stadium may not have had much energy, Tiafoe, who is aware that this U.S. Open is unlike any other he has played in, had plenty of energy.

Tiafoe, a favorite on Ashe for the first time, remarked in his press conference following the match, “A bunch of new experiences today.”

Due to the fact that they are so full of reminders of Tiafoe’s new position US Open, this dynamic has ramifications that are both real and metaphorical, both positive and possibly complicated.

Tiafoe had to turn his head in a different direction for support because it was the first time his team had access to the player’s box on the west side of the court that belonged to the favored. He was introduced to the fans as the favorite and came onto the court following Tien. That means he sat in the chair closest to the entrance, on the left side of the chair umpire, as opposed to the right side, where the underdog often walks US Open.

He moved between sponsor events and other engagements throughout the week, and everywhere he turned, there was a reminder of who he is now, just as it had been all week. He had a brand-new Cadillac Escalade in his driveway. US Open Tennis started right after that..

How Tiafoe handles everything will have a big impact on how many victories he can manage in the event that every American guy aspires to win. The last time that happened was 20 years ago, when Andy Roddick won his lone Grand Slam singles championship prior to the ascent of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.

There are high standards.

Martin Blackman, the USTA’s general manager for player development, who has known Tiafoe since he was in elementary school, said, “They should be.”

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Ray Benton, the director of the College Park, Maryland-based Junior US Open Tennis Champions Center, where Frances Tiafoe’s improbable climb to US Open tennis success began, said, “It’s a lot. In the early years of J.T.C.C., where US Open tennis professionals first observed how adept his little son was at striking a tennis ball against a wall, Tiafoe’s father, an immigrant from Sierra Leone, worked as a maintenance guy.

Benton has been in touch with Tiafoe all summer and attended his game on Monday US Open.

“He’s a little—,” With a pause, Benton mimicked someone who was feeling the pressure of expectations, the biggest of which are those that Tiafoe has set for himself. All he can do, in a sense, is let us down.

Despite Tiafoe’s successful season, which included victories in competitions in Houston and Stuttgart, Germany, he has fallen short of his own expectations at the most crucial occasions. At the first three Grand Slam competitions of the year, he suffered a third-round defeat.

He was utterly dejected after playing what was possibly his poorest performance of the year in a three-set loss to Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov at Wimbledon on grass, a surface he adores and which would seem to fit his aggressive and inventive style of play.

At his core, Tiafoe is a showman and an entertainer who enjoys playing off the enthusiasm of the crowd. He first gained attention in 2019 when he advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open and shot up to the top 30. Finding the best way to do that has been one of his challenges from his early years.

On Monday, during a close second set versus Tien, a typical Tiafoe sequence took place. With the score tied at 4-4, Tien sprang to his feet and twisted and snapped what appeared to be a sure-fire backhand overhead. In order to position himself for what appeared to be a critical break of service from Tien, Tiafoe tracked it down and threaded the needle with his shot. slipping it between the umpire’s chair and the net post. He then gave the crowd his recognizable frozen stare, signaling for the crowd to erupt into noise. So they did.

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But after making many sloppy mistakes, including a forehand into the net and an overhead wide, he lost his own service, giving Tien another opportunity to tie the match. Megan Moulton-Levy, a longtime mentor to Tiafoe and general manager of player development at J.T.C.C., spoke earlier this summer about her lengthy discussions with Tiafoe about how to entertain and harness the energy of his ever-growing fan base without exhausting himself or losing his focus.

In a recent interview, Moulton-Levy remarked, “He’s such a social guy.” He must learn to control how to switch on and off his large, attractive personality throughout the course of a game. He needs to decide when and how to reveal it.

After defeating Tien on Monday, Tiafoe discussed finding a balance between energizing the Queens crowd—which will definitely be rooting for him throughout this tournament—and concentrating on the demanding chore of winning best-of-five sets.

He remarked, “I don’t want to gas out in the first set,” emphasizing how crucial it would be, particularly as the tournament went on and the anticipation and interest of all those A-list celebrities and countless others among the Tiafoe faithful grew over another, he hoped, deep run, increased.

To keep them interested, he continued, “I have to keep winning.”

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