The American defeated the Spaniard 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 to seal his place in the quarterfinals, where he defeated Andrey Rublev 7-6(3) 7-6(0) 6-4 to reach his maiden Grand Slam semifinal. Here, he lost 6-7(6) 6-3 6-1 6-7(5) 6-3 to eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz.
"It seems to be a uniquely American thing" - Tennis fans divided over behavior of Tiafoe and Sock during Laver Cup
In an interview with GQ, Tiafoe said that defeating Nadal changed his mindset on how he saw himself as a player and his approach toward the biggest tournaments.
"Beating someone like Rafa definitely changed my whole mindset of how I see myself as a player and how I approach the biggest events in the world," Tiafoe said. "They've been winning, winning and winning for so long, and you know, we're looking at them like they're superhuman and to beat them in the biggest stage that we have was unbelievable for me going forward you know, to believe I can really take the next step and really win these events and be one of the best players in the world consistently."
The World No. 19 added that he wasn't sure about what he told Nadal during their post-match handshake as he was "not on this planet".
"Yeah, that was a big honor," he added. "When I shook his hand, I didn't even really know what to say to him. I was kinda like mumbling and stuff. He said congrats but I didn't even know what I said to him. I was so not in this planet. Hopefully we have a couple more battles before he calls it."