By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday September 6, 2023
Frances Tiafoe couldn’t overcome the challenge that his compatriot Ben Shelton presented on Tuesday night at the US Open, as he fell in four sets in the all-American battle, and the loss left Tiafoe frustrated about his performance.
He believes he didn’t bring his best game, and knows that to attain his goal of winning a major he’ll have to find ways to be better.
But the 25-year-old still sees the bright side. He’s enjoying his first season in the Top-10 and playing better tennis than he ever has. He wants to shake off the disappointment and finish his season strong so that he can continue rising up the rankings and inspiring the next generation of American tennis players.
“I still want to end the year strong and try to end in the top 10,” he said early on Thursday morning, after falling to Shelton, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2. “Still having a great season.
“But, you know, obviously I want to perform really well in the slams. My exits in last two slams, both matches I didn’t play very well at all. That’s tough to swallow.”
Tiafoe had his serve broken seven times against the 20-year-old Shelton, and three times in a very winnable third set. He knows his inability to lock things on serve caused him too many difficulties.
“We both broke each other a lot,” he said. “I mean, he hit some really good shots, running forehands, hit some great shots on the run, came up with some good stuff. But ultimately I let him back in. I gave him way too many opportunities to stay in the match.
“More times than not I would win that set. [When you] Leave [the] door open for a lot of guys, you’re playing with fire. I had a look there, 7-6, he hit unbelievable return from way back there. That’s unheard of stuff. It’s tennis.”