"I'm much more comfortable with myself, and I'm playing great tennis" - Frances Tiafoe on dealing with pressure and increased expectations

Wednesday, 22 February 2023 at 02:30
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Frances Tiafoe has spoken out about career progression and explained how his aspirations have grown since his first ATP tour win.
In 2018, Tiafoe won his first-ever ATP competition at the Delray Beach Open. Aged just 20 years old, the American beat Juan Martin del Potro in the final in three sets.
It is a moment that Tiafoe looks back on with great fondness and the 25-year-old admitted that his youthful approach was probably more beneficial rather than an obstacle on the way to his first title.
"I think I was much more raw, kind of just went out and played," said Tiafoe on the ATP podcast. "I think now you overthink it a little bit and now you're older and your perspective and, back then I was just playing and enjoying, but you don't really understand the magnitude of things."
Despite winning the Delray Beach Open at a young age, Tiafoe believes he is better placed now to deal with the challenges and expectations that come with professional tennis.
"It was a great milestone and it was great to have it done," he revealed. "Having done that early in my career was really cool about this first title. I won that title at 20, guys were putting a lot of expectation on us, that year, I finished in the top 40 at 20 years old, so, there's a lot of expectation and I think my game was ready for it, but I don't think mentally I was. Now, I'm much more comfortable with myself, comfortable where I am in life and I'm playing great tennis."
Tiafoe has progressed steadily since 2018 and 2022 was another strong year. The American reached the fourth round of Wimbledon before he progressed to the US Open semi-final - his best Grand Slam performance to date.
Although Tiafoe said he appreciates all career titles, he admitted that sealing a Grand Slam is the next big goal.
"I just wanna win a title," he admitted. "I think that's become my next thing. But ultimately you just want to win a Grand Slam. I think I'm at that place now where the slams really matter. The slams is where I wanna be best equipped, prepared, mentally, physically, emotionally, and after US Open and seeing what that impact was and seeing what that meant, not only for me and my family and whatever."

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