Frances Tiafoe, who has had an electrifying run to the US Open semifinals less than two weeks ago, is on top form to pick up points for Team World at the Laver Cup London.
“I love competing in the Laver Cup,” said Tiafoe, who rose to 19th place in his career in singles after his success in New York. “I know what to expect and I think we have a great chance this year to take the title for Team Europe.”
The athletic American, coached by South African Wayne Ferreira, oozed confidence after guiding eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz to a crucial fifth set at the US Open. “I just proved I can play with the best and I’m capable of winning Grand Slams,” Tiafoe said.
“I’ve always secured against the best players in the world – I do it consistently, start hitting guys more willingly, ready to take the next step,” Tiafoe said. “I feel like I can win every game.”
How it is going
Tiafoe, who won his first singles title four years ago in Delray Beach, can rejoin the winner’s circle as Team World sets out on the path to Laver Cup victory.
The American who was nominated for the ATP Tour Stephen Edberg Sportsmanship Award in 2021, competes this week with individual wins over three of Team Europe’s six players. He boasts that he is the only man to have defeated Rafael Nadal at a Major this year, earning his first win against the Spaniard during their fourth-round encounter at Flushing Meadows earlier this month.
“It’s not an easy task,” conceded Tiafoe, who followed his Nadal win with a crushing straight-set loss to Andrey Rublev and also fought his way through higher-ranked Team World teammate Diego Schwartzman in straight sets earlier in the tournament.
The 24-year-old has hit 15 of the 26 wins of his 2022 season on hard courts and is just seven games away from the 33 wins he set as a personal best in 2021. Favourite: America is unbeaten after becoming the first player to have eight tie-breaks at the US Open could win.
Off the pitch, the right-hander has expressed a desire to make a difference in the world. In 2020 he shot a video titled “Bat down, hands up‘ to raise awareness of the unjust deaths of African Americans in the United States, which featured players Serena Williams and Coco Gauff.
Play at the Laver Cup
The American, in his third Laver Cup, is looking for his first singles win after losing to Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov in Prague 2017 and Chicago 2018.
“It’s a bit like a Davis Cup feeling, but even better because it’s among friends and not just for your country,” Tiafoe said in 2017, which I will remember forever.
Tiafoe from Maryland, USA, who has described his previous Laver Cup outings as an “incredible experience”, will once again be exchanging high fives with teammates including Jack Sock, who is one of his closest friends on the ATP Tour.
“There’s always a little bit more to being in a team environment…it’s an honor for me,” Tiafoe said of his Laver Cup debut. “You feel like you really have to put everything out there,” he said, adding that a huge audience encourages him to up his game. “I live for that…if there’s a big crowd in front of me, I’ll play good tennis.”
“Frances is developing in the right direction, he brings a lot of energy and he has some great talent,” said team world captain John McEnroe on Tuesday, describing his player’s current form as “hot”.