Frances Tiafoe: Having a player of Rafael Nadal's calibre in Washington is legendary



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Frances Tiafoe: Having a player of Rafael Nadal's calibre in Washington is legendary

USA's Frances Tiafoe insists it's "unbelievable" to have at the Citi Open in Washington. Nadal, ranked at No. 3 in the world, is set to make his debut in Washington at the age of 34. Nadal hasn't played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open final.

“It's just unbelievable that he came here to D.C.,” Tiafoe said, per the ATP website. “Having a player of his calibre here is pretty legendary”. Tiafoe, ranked at No. 53 in the world, underlined the importance of having top 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 also spoke highly of Djokovic

Tiafoe, who lost to Djokovic earlier this year at the Australian Open, said the Serb is mentally the toughest player in the world.

“The guy's special, man. He can play on all surfaces, he's moving so well, his serve has gotten a lot better. Mentally, just the toughest in the world. Not necessarily he has the best forehand, backhand or whatever, just mentally he's so, so good,” Tiafoe said.

“As you raise your level, he's going to keep raising it, keep raising it, really make you beat him. He goes to a place that people just don't quite want to go to it seems like. He's always got an answer for you.

He's on the be brink of achieving something crazy special. “As much as I love seeing greatness, I'd like it to stop, someone else win, preferably me. We'll see how it goes in the end”. Tiafoe is set to kick off his Washington campaign against fellow compatriot Jenson Brooksby.

“[It is] the best I’ve felt in a while. I’m playing some great tennis. I'm ready to go,” Tiafoe said. “I've put some good matches in on grass, feeling good, feeling less jet lag from the Olympics now. By the time I go, I'll be ready to go”.