INTERVIEW OF THE DAY -   Frances Tiafoe

27.10.2020    Views: 722
Author: Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan

Nicknamed Big Foe, Frances Tiafoe has been a favorite with the locals from the time he  landed  in Nur -  Sultan  for the Astana Open.  In 2013  he won the coveted Orange Bowl title at age 15 and went on to reach No. 2 in the world junior rankings in  2014. In that same year he earned his 1st ranking point on the professional tour and went on to reach his highest ranking of 29 in 2019.

As a 20-year-old, he  became the  youngest American professional player on tour since  Andy Roddick  to win an ATP title when he won at Delray Beach, USA .

It has been a tough journey for  Tiafoe  whose family moved from Sierra Leone to USA in 1996. He trained as a kid at the Junior Tennis Champions Centre in College Park, Maryland, USA, where his father served as head of maintenance. He started his tennis career there, often spending  the entire day at tennis centre.  

The 22 year old Tiafoe  made a strong start to his Astana Open campaign on Monday with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Corentin  Moutet, avenging a loss to him two weeks ago at the Forte Village Sardegna Open.

Frances Spoke to Kazakh TV  journalist Dinara Baikadamova in a freewheeling interview

Surprised to see Snow In October?

Yes. I never expected to see snow in October and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s pretty cool   to see snow now. I'm from Washington, DC, and we have snow sometimes but never in October

Tennis is back -How about your season so far?

The season post the Pandemic has been good for me  so far. It's great to be competing again and although the circumstances are still tough it  feels nice to get back to the game I love so much . It's been a pretty good year so far  although at the beginning of the year I lost points and that was tough.  But now I’m getting back steadily.

How tough was it for you   to recover after such a long break from competing?

It felt different getting back to tennis at the US Open. During the break it was great to be home with the family with my mom cooking food for me all the time. I actually started getting used to that life  and sometimes I forgot that I was an professional athlete. But now all that is behind and we are back playing.

I have hardly been home for that long since I was kid. I was home for nearly 5 months and I didn't play for nearly 2 months .  The other day I was talking to my dad about the last time I didn't play tennis for two months . It was relaxing but I was of course missing the game.

About your chances this week?

Looks pretty good  although there are many good players here and everyone can play great  tennis on any given day. I’ll take it one match at time. I want to stay at Ritz Carlton ( Official Hotel) as long as I can  as it's a great hotel and I am looking forward to hopefully playing here in Sunday (finals)

Your story has been truly inspiring life  story  what would like to stay to your fans?

Keep rising and keep maturing. I'm  happy if I can give people confidence and inspire those around  me to  believe that they can achieve anything if you have a positive  mind set. My advice  would be to follow your  passion. Try to be better person  than you were a day before. Stop  worrying about the results and try to enjoy and love the  process.


Playing without spectators a new norm ?

We love fans. The global  pandemic has changed the situation and we players appreciate the Federations concern towards safety in these times. But you guys have put the event together at short notice and have given the players here a chance to play, to make points, to make money and we truly appreciate the  efforts of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation.

Thoughts about Kazakh Players?

Obviously I would watch for the Kazakh guys. I have played against Bublik a couple of times before and know that he is a tricky player . We grew up together  and he is playing very good tennis.

About Kazakhstan and your trip here ?

I was looking around through the car and saw a little but  it’s unfortunate that we can't go out  or walk around the city. It looks like a super nice city and post covid I would surely like to visit again.

I'm loving the care you guys are taking with us and I can see that the people working here are being super nice and doing everything to make the players feel at home. I'm truly happy to be here. Rakhmet

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