Absence of Federer, Nadal extra motivation at US Open, says Frances Tiafoe
The men’s draw at the US Open
is on pace for a record amount of five-set matches and Frances Tiafoe,
a 23-year-old American, thinks Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal have a lot to do with it — despite the fact that they aren’t even competing this year at Flushing Meadows.
Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 in men’s tennis, is the only member of the ‘Big Three’ to compete since
Federer and Nadal are both injured.
With 11 matches remaining in the men’s draw, the event has already seen 33 matches go to the fifth set
the highest at the hardcourt major since 2004 when 34 matches went to five.
Players viewed the absence of Federer and Nadal as a chance to go farther in the competition
according to Tiafoe, who fell to Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday.
Tiafoe, who electrified the tournament late Friday night with an upset victory over No. 5 Andrey Rublev, said, “I certainly believe people are working extra hard since there is no Roger, Rafa.” “I see people frothing from the mouth, which is quite entertaining to see, and I’m laughing up in the locker room.
“You have (Andreas) Seppi, who is 37 years old, who is playing 15-13 in the fifth inning (set tiebreaker). What exactly is going on here? Crazy.
“In his 19th U.S. Open, he’s risking everything. If he faces Rafa in the second round, he’ll very certainly say, “I’m done.”
“It’s surreal,” says the speaker.
With seven fifth-set tiebreakers, this year’s event is tied for the most since the U.S. Open began utilizing tiebreakers in 1970, with the 1980 and 1983 editions.
After losing the opening two sets, as many as ten players have fought back to win, tying the 1974 and 2012 tournaments for the most.
“We knew it was going to be a tough US Open when we arrived. Auger-Aliassime said, “We understood there would be a lot on the line.”
“On one side, we have Novak wanting to make history, and on the other hand, we have players who have already reached several Grand Slam finals… all of these guys, including myself, who are very eager to be on the big stage and win these kinds of tournaments.”