Tiafoe’s victory over Jan-Lennard Struff in the Stuttgart final was a thrilling one, as he saved a championship point in the third-set tiebreak. The win was a major breakthrough for Tiafoe, who has been one of the most promising young players on the ATP Tour for several years.
Frances Tiafoe pops open his champagne on court after winning Stuttgart.
This is how you celebrate reaching the Top 10.
A monstrous game.
A great human being.
Big Foe deserves this.
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) June 18, 2023
Big Foe’s Humble Beginnings
Tiafoe’s rise to the top 10 is a remarkable story. He was born in Maryland to immigrant parents who had fled the civil war in Sierra Leone. Tiafoe’s father worked as a caretaker at a tennis center, and that’s where Tiafoe first picked up the sport.
Tiafoe quickly showed his potential, and he turned professional in 2015. He has since won three ATP titles and reached the semifinals of the US Open in 2022.
Tiafoe’s achievement is a significant one for the African-American community. He is only the third African-American man to reach the top 10 in the ATP rankings, joining Arthur Ashe and James Blake. Tiafoe’s success is an inspiration to young African-Americans who dream of playing professional tennis.
Tiafoe is the 18th favorite (+9000 at DraftKings) to win the Championships at Wimbledon when it begins July 3. He has the talent and the drive to achieve great things, and he should be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
Here are some additional details about Tiafoe’s achievement:
- Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz are the first American pair in the top 10 since Mardy Fish and John Isner in 2012.
- Tiafoe is 12th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.
- Tiafoe is +9000 to win Wimbledon
- Tiafoe is +2800 to win the 2023 US Open
Tiafoe is a talented and exciting tennis player with several strengths and weaknesses.
- Powerful serve and forehand: Tiafoe has one of the fastest serves on the ATP Tour. He can regularly hit serves in the 130 mph range and often uses his serve to set up his forehand. Tiafoe’s forehand is also very powerful, and he can generate a lot of topspin on the shot. This makes it difficult for opponents to return, allowing Tiafoe to dictate points.
- Movement: Tiafoe is a very athletic player with good movement. He can track down even the hardest shots and stay in rallies for a long time. This makes him a difficult opponent to beat, especially on hard courts.
- Mental toughness: Tiafoe has become a mentally tough player, unafraid to compete. He has recently shown the ability to come back from behind in matches, and he has won over 60% of his tiebreaks since 2022.
- Second serve: Tiafoe’s second serve is not as powerful as his first one and is often inconsistent. This can give opponents easy points, making it difficult for Tiafoe to hold serve.
- Backhand: Tiafoe’s backhand is not as strong as his forehand and is sometimes vulnerable to attack. He can also be inconsistent with his backhand, leading to errors.
- Net game: Tiafoe is not as comfortable at the net as he is at the baseline. He does not have a great volley and sometimes hesitates to come to the net. The limited net game can make it dicey in certain situations and particularly dicey on grass courts.
Tiafoe Wimbledon Outlook
What a great feat to reach the top 10! That in itself is Herculean, and his first grass court title this past week in Stuttgart was not only special but encouraging as well. He handled the partisan crowd and probably wouldn’t have beaten Struff a year ago in a similar situation.
Tiafoe shouldn’t be +9000 to win Wimbledon. His Stuttgart victory should have boosted his odds a bit, but the public is more interested in Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic at the moment than they are with Tiafoe and his Wimbledon chances.
If Tiafoe can get to the second week of Wimbledon, he will have acquitted himself well, but that’s likely as far as he will go at this season’s event. The Tiafoe return game has gotten better, but his hesitancy to finish points at the net, a key component to winning on grass, isn’t strong enough to win Wimbledon.
His 2022 fourth-round exit was the best result of his six attempts, and I believe that is where he will finish the 2023 Wimbledon. +9000 isn’t a good enough price for someone who won’t win the tournament.