Carlos Alcaraz defeats Frances Tiafoe at the US Open semifinals in a battle of tennis’ rising stars
After just one week of qualifying, Frances Tiafoe is the US Open champion.
At this point, there can be no doubt that Frances Tiafoe is the future of the sport. He is a rising star who represents the future of tennis, the future of the American sports landscape and the future of US Open coverage.
Now we are here, and he came up one win shy of the US Open title, after falling in the semifinal at the Fed Cup final in Birmingham, UK. He has made a case to be called a legitimate Grand Slam champion; but if he wants to build on his legacy, he is going to need to beat more people.
It was a match that played out on all surfaces, with a lot of unforced errors. His serve was his worst weapon, which he only used sparingly, and his forehand was the most uncharacteristically sloppy. He made too many unforced errors in his game plan; it was a defensive battle against a high quality opponent who was not expecting to win.
This year the US Open is the top tennis tournament in the world, and we have seen a shift in US Open coverage. The US Open is now almost as important as the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the NFL and the World Cup. There has never been an athlete so important to the Olympics as Serena Williams. To put Serena in the same company alongside Federer and Nadal is akin to comparing apples to oranges.
The narrative surrounding Federer versus Nadal was the narrative of the rise of a new tennis generation. The game has changed, Federer is the King and Nadal is the pauper. The Federer of today is the Federer of a decade ago; his win against Djokovic at the 2012 US Open was the last time we saw a player of Federer’s skill level in the final; the Nadal of today is the Nadal of 2009, his loss to Djokovic at the 2009 US Open was the last time we saw a player of Nadal’s talent level in the final.
The narrative surrounding Federer versus Nadal was the narrative of the rise of a new tennis generation. The game has changed, Federer is the King and Nadal is the pauper. The Federer of today is the Federer of a