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Frances Tiafoe bumps Burna Boy over Beyoncé at Citi Open homecoming
Fresh off a semifinal finish in Atlanta, the American superstar is absorbing the sights and sounds of his favorite tournament ahead of his first round on Wednesday.
Published Aug 02, 2022
WATCH: Tiafoe took his Wimbledon momentum straight through the semifinals of Atlanta.
WASHINGTON—It’s shaping up to be a renaissance summer for Frances Tiafoe, but Beyoncé may not be the artist providing the soundtrack for his week at the Citi Open.
“It's different,” he said of Queen Bey’s internet-breaking seventh studio album. “The same with the new Drake [Honestly, Nevermind]: a lot of elevator kind of music. I don't know how I feel about it honestly. I mean, it's definitely an acquired taste, I feel like.
“But to be honest with you, I'm more on the Afro-beats vibe, more Burna Boy. Kind of a Burna Boy summer for me.”
Whatever Tiafoe has been listening to this summer has been working: the American surged into the second week of Wimbledon and reached the semifinals in Atlanta, putting him in sight of a new career-high ranking in time for a raucous return to Flushing Meadows.
“I'm serving much better,” said the world No. 27 in his Citi Open Media Day presser. “I'm in a better place mentally. I'm finally getting rhythm again. Obviously, end of last year I started playing some great tennis from, like, Wimbledon on, second part of last year. Early in the year I had an injury. Struggling to find rhythm, playing great tennis. I just wanted to get back to that level so fast. Kind of get stuck to the process.
“Now, honestly, I'm happy where I'm at, competing, just enjoy it again, not really try to force the issue right now, let something great happen right now. It's going to happen when it happens. It's starting to make sense again, right at the perfect time, hard court summer, with the US Open on the way, with the huge tournament right in front of me. I'm excited.”
It was in New York where the charismatic Tiafoe commanded the Arthur Ashe Stadium stage, making the fourth round after five sets with Andrey Rublev. The Maryland-born 24-year-old won’t look too far ahead, however, as he’s eager to enjoy his home tournament in Washington, D.C.
“I'm such a huge fan of playing at home,” he said. “I just love playing at home. It's good and bad. Obviously, everyone roots for you, but everyone is wanting your time. Kind of managing that.
“Everyone here, the owner of the event is a great friend of mine, Mark Ein. I love the guy. It's good to be back. Everyone wants me to do so well. I know everyone from credential people to media people, everyone. I just want to put on a show and go deep.”
With his first singles match not until Wednesday, Tiafoe has had time to take all the Citi Open’s sights and sounds, including a first-round women’s match between top seed Jessica Pegula and fellow DMV native Hailey Baptiste.
“She's coming back from injury,” he said of Baptiste. “Pegula is obviously a great opponent. It was tough. Obviously, Pegula is a great friend of mine, Top 10 in the world, playing some of the best tennis of her life. It was always going to be a tough contest.
“I just had to go out there and show love, show that I'm here with her.”
The D.C. crowd is primed to return that love when Tiafoe first takes the court for his doubles match with Alex De Minaur on Tuesday: together the two face top seeds Rajeev Ram and Horacio Zeballos.