Tennis Prose



Big Foe Now An ATP Elite

Frances Tiafoe is a bonafide ATP star now, a consistent elite performer.

The 25 year old who turned pro in 2015 is now ranked 16 in the world (his best was 14 last month). After a few years of stagnation Tiafoe has clearly improved under coach Wayne Ferreira, a former top ten ATP player himself.

Tiafoe is a consistent professional now, smarter and better on the big points and in his training habits. Yes he loves to have fun and enjoy his life and career on the ATP World Tour but he’s also a very determined professional with an extraordinary will to win. This year Tiafoe has a 12-3 match record, which is a lot better than Casper Ruud’s 4-5 mark.

Overall in his career Tiafoe is 148-146, just barely over .500. But the upgrade in coaches a few years back by Tiafoe from his unproven friend (who never had an ATP point) to Ferreira, once the ATP no. 6 in 1995 and winner of 15 ATP singles titles has been a very intelligent move. Ferreira also has a competitive 6-7 head to head record vs. Pete Sampras and the secret tactics that other ATP players would ask him about when they played Pete. (Ferreira actually shared those winning tactics in my book Facing Sampras.)

Tiafoe was a very good junior but it was not a given he would make it in the ATP, due to his unorthodox looking strokes and happy-go-lucky attitude, which some interpreted as not serious or professional enough. But Tiafoe has something extraordinary that many ATP players do not – an underrated ferocity and tenacity and a total comfort and desire to play against the greatest players on the biggest stadium courts. Big Foe is an extrovert who thrives in big match situations, maybe even a little more than he does competing against lower ranked players on outer courts.

Tiafoe’s alpha personality and charisma win him a lot of matches and he can give anybody in the ATP trouble…or an L.

This week in Indian Wells Big Foe has bested Marcos Giron and Jason Kubler and in the round of 16 he will meet 187 ranked Alejandro Tabilo, who he beat in 2020 in Newport Beach 64 62.

Currently the second highest ranked American after no. 5 Taylor Fritz, all the pieces of the puzzle seem to be in place and Tiafoe could be on the verge of accomplishing something very special in 2023.

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  • Cory · March 13, 2023 at 11:31 am

    Foe has all the weaponry for an extended stay at the Top 10 Suite. And as i think you highlighted above, his mental game is definitely improving. He is so well-liked and popular, getting the love/buzz from the crowds, similar to a Federer (to a far lesser extent however).

    Murray today, Scoop. All those wildcards over the last 2 years – have to admit his ranking has CLIMBED albeit slowly, now ranked 55 with plenty of motion forward if he can get thru Draper. Murray is a dog today – NO WAY he loses to Draper. Murray is a mental giant; he didn’t climb to this zenith to lose to some unproven Brit. 🙂

    Baez will have a chance against Fritz today. 5.5 odds on Baez, that’s pretty generous.

    Also Mannarino is 7-to-1 against Sinner. We all know how good Sinner is but he has had terrible flopping moments over the years, too many to mention. A hungry and solid Mannarino can frustrated Sinner. I don’t see this being so one-sided.

    Wawrinka 3.3-to-1 vs. Rune. I’ve said many times I’m just not a Rune believer. Wawrinka if on point can win this.

    Hurkacz should dispatch Tommy Paul… i love the latter’s game, it’s very exciting, incredible weaponry… he’s just unreliable, whereas the former is exactly that.

    Today’s card is amazing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 13, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Foe will roll on, he doesn’t lose many matches anymore by dumb mistakes. Ferreira has corrected that. Mannarino is 0-2 vs Sinner career. Tough task for the former beta now alpha lefty. Fritz should cruise, Shelton was a big win for him. Stan is making a believer here, he really wants another hurrah and he has a level that even Djokovic can’t handle. Murray should win, I expect Draper to roll over like he did for Rafa at AO. Giving Paul an upset chance vs Double H.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 13, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Coco Gauff says she is coached by her parents. Diego Moyano is there just as a hitting partner I presume. And Mouratoglou has been discarded. Wonder if the Gauff parents are making the same mistake Young’s parents did?

  • catherine · March 14, 2023 at 2:42 am

    She’ll be out next round to Swiatek but Emma’s match v BHM was the one we’ve been waiting for. It was all there.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 14, 2023 at 8:27 am

    Catherine, Emma has declared by her actions in IW she is an elite wta player and rumors of her demise have been greatly exaggerated. Great wins this week. Predator Emma now hunting for Iga.



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