Frances Tiafoe hails ‘new era’ of men’s tennis after Rafael Nadal shock
Frances Tiafoe was proud to usher in a ‘new era’ in men’s tennis after he beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the US Open.
With Novak Djokovic absent, Alexander Zverev injured and Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and, now, Nadal all out, the last eight has an unfamiliar look to it.
Tiafoe joins Casper Ruud, Matteo Berrettini, Nick Kyrgios, Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals, meaning a new major winner is certain to be crowned.
Asked about the unfamiliar semi-final line-up, Tiafoe said: “Yeah, I think Nick 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, Fritz. There’s a ton of guys playing great tennis.
“I 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.
“I think 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. It’s cool to see a new era.”
The temptation would be to look at the scoreline in the match and assume that Rafael Nadal under-performed.
However, such an assumption would be unkind to Frances Tiafoe, who produced a brilliant level on the day.
“It was definitely one hell of a performance,” Tiafoe said. “I played really well today.
“I guess I just came out there and I just believed I could do it. It helps I played him a couple times. Haven’t played him in some years.
“I’m a different person now, different player. I went out there trying to get a dub, and that’s what I did.
“For a while there, I was like, geez. You see all these young guys get Rafa, [Roger] Federer, Novak [Djokovic]. Am I ever going to be able to say I beat one of them? Today I was like, no, I’m going to do that.
“So now, it’s something to tell the kids, the grandkids, Yeah, I beat Rafa. Hopefully I never play him again, but hope I end with a win.”
Tiafoe will face Andrey Rublev for a spot in the US Open semi-finals.
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