Tennis Prose



Tiafoe Escapes A Clown At Wimbledon

It’s been a rough year for Frances Tiafoe as this year his ranking has fallen to 30 in the world from a career high of no. 10.

Today the 26 year old American scored a major victory by beating Matteo Arnaldi in five sets, overcoming a two set deficit for the first time in his career, 67 26 61 63 63.

“It’s brutal. Highs and lows. Think about where I’m at,” Taifoe said after the win. “Literally this week last year I was 10 in the world and now I’m barely seeded here (at Wimbledon). Losing to clowns, I hate to say it but I’m just gonna be honest. I took the game for granted and got a little too comfortable. You stop having fun with it and you find yourself in a weird position. Then you kind of forget what you were doing to win?”

To call top 100 or even top 200 ATP players clowns is probably an unintended insult muttered in the middle of a slump so the likes or Rinky Hijikata, Jack Draper, Denis Shapovalov, Arthur Rinderknech, Dominic Koepfer, Federico Coria, Pedro Cachin, Chris O’Connell, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Tommy Paul, Marcos Giron, Tomas Machac, Zhizhen Zhang and Jerry Shang won’t be offended (they all beat Tiafoe this year).

Losing to clowns would make Tiafoe a clown also but we know that’s not true because in his remarkable professional career, he’s won three ATP singles titles, reached a Grand Slam semifinal and earned in excess of $10m in prize money. 

“You start doubting yourself and all these kinds of things,”  Big Foe added. “But it’s the game. It’s like anything, nothing is peaches and cream all the time. It’s about how fast you can kind of get out of that. And there is always light at the end of the tunnel, whether you either try and find it with small wins or continue to feel sorry for yourself and continue to play victim, that’s where it just gets darker and darker and darker.”

Tiafoe’s career course of plummeting in the following year after achieving his best success, is a pattern similar to other top American players. Jack Sock reached the top ten and crashed out of the top 100 in the following years. Reilly Opelka reached the no. 1 American ranking in 2022 but then his career took a nosedive and he’s been out of the game for almost two years. JJ Wolf reached no. 39 two years ago and now he’s ranked 135.

There are plenty of incentives for Tiafoe to be inspired by. He knows in his heart he is a top ten player and can be again. He wants to prove he can achieve success without his former coach Wayne Ferreira who directed Tiafoe’s rise from journeyman status to top ten. He’s still highly motivated to play his best tennis in what should be his peak years now and into his early 30s. Hes learned some hard lessons on how to manage stardom and being a sports celebrity and is ready to apply them.

Today Tiafoe won his first pro match from two sets down – a feat that will surely fuel his appetite for more goals he’s yet to reach.

Tiafoe will face Borna Coric in the second round of Wimbledon.

· · ·


  • Cory · July 1, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    Speaking of Opelka, he is in the Citi Open ATP 500 later this month, first match in 2 years if you exclude an evanescent return last november…

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 1, 2024 at 9:08 pm

    Cory, Opelka is first playing Newport the week of July 15. I’ve seen no news about any Opelka injuries which suggests his hiatus may have been because of something else. He has not talked about any injuries or rehab, seems like it’s been some kind of forced vacation.

  • Steve · July 2, 2024 at 10:23 am

    He had a great coach in Ferreira but blew it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 2, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    Sure did Steve, now coached by his junior buddy Jordi Arconada. Ferreira was with Yibing Wu earlier this year but he’s hurt, now with Draper who just won his first title with Wayne at the controls.

Leave a Reply



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top