American tennis star Frances Tiafoe is thrilled to have 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal at the Citi Open in Washington. Nadal, 34, is set to make his debut on the hard courts of Washington this week. Nadal hasn't played since ending runner-up at the French Open as he skipped the entire grass season and the Tokyo Olympics.
Nadal, seeded at No. 1, had a first round bye at the tournament and he is set to kick off his campaign against former world No. 8 Jack Sock. “It's just unbelievable that he came here to D.C.,” Tiafoe said of Nadal's presence, per the ATP website.
“Having a player of his calibre here is pretty legendary”.
Tiafoe underlined the importance of having star players in Washington
“This tournament's big. For guys around the area, to see pro players, this is the real thing.
Coming here and seeing Del Potro win here, seeing James Blake, all these guys coming and playing here, legends, Lleyton Hewitt. You're like, ‘Wow, I can maybe play with these guys one day, even be in the same locker room as these guys,’” Tiafoe said.
“I think those experiences definitely helped me to be the man I am today. I love this tournament being here, and I hope it can be here for years and years to come”. Tiafoe last played at the Tokyo Olympics, where he made the second round before losing to Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I won Nottingham, quarters of Queen's, the run at Wimbledon. I haven't won that many consecutive matches in a long time. I think I can play well, but so sporadically,” Tiafoe said. “To have that many wins in a short span was really nice.
To beat a high-calibre player in a major, and so convincingly, that gives you a lot of confidence. I'm just ready for what's next. Hopefully I can keep on this road. Also I'm extremely happy right now just in general”.