9 Nov 2019

'Big Foe’ Frances Tiafoe to make debut at ASB Classic

by Rhonda Karl
'Big Foe’ Frances Tiafoe to make debut at ASB Classic

America’s great male hope, Frances Tiafoe will make his debut at the ASB Classic in January.   
The 21-year-old American is making an impact on the international stage, reaching the quarter finals of five ATP tournaments this year including the Australian Open, where he upset Kevin Anderson (No. 5) and Grigor Dimitrov (No. 20) before being edged by second seed Rafael Nadal.  This run made him the youngest American to make a Grand Slam quarter final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2003.   
Breaking American records has become a norm for the Maryland native who has been long tipped for greatness.  He became the youngest ever player to win the coveted Rose Bowl at the age of just 15 before going on to be ranked the number two junior in the World. 
Tiafoe hit a career high of 29 in the ATP rankings in February, and his performances throughout the year secured his qualification for the Next Gen ATP Finals. In his first appearance at the prestigious year ending tournament featuring the top eight U21 players in the world, he made it through pool play to the semi finals, where he lost to Alex de Minaur on Saturday.
Tiafoe secured his first ATP Tour title in 2018 taking out the Delray Beach Open, defeating his idol and world No. 10 Juan Martin del Potro, fellow Next Gen players Hyeon Chung and Denis Shapolvalov on his way to the title.
Nicknamed ‘Big Foe’ by his contemporaries for his aggressive playing style that features a big serve and forehand, Tiafoe has the power, speed and that unique ability to keep any crowd entertained.   

Karl Budge, ASB Classic tournament director is excited to see the fiery American make his Auckland debut.
“Frances is one of the most exciting and entertaining players you’re likely to see on court. His passion is there for everyone to see, and he really takes you on a ride with him.  He’s a big match player and loves the spotlight.
“But he’s got the game to back it up.  He is so physical in the way that he plays something that sets him up across all surfaces.  He was the first American male to reach an ATP final on clay since Andre Agassi in 1990.  He is certainly part of this next generation of players we’re seeing now break through to lead the ATP Tour.
“It’s really exciting for us.  We’re going to have a mix of real established superstars like Serena being joined by the future of the sport in Bianca, Daniil, Shapo, Karen and now Frances.  It is shaping up to be a great two weeks” said Budge
The ASB Classic will take over Auckland for two weeks this January, with Women’s Week hitting centre court from 6-12 January, followed by Men’s Week from 13-18 January.  Tickets are on sale now and are available through Ticketek either online via ticketek.co.nz, or over the phone on 0800 842 538

Further player signings will be revealed in the coming weeks with the full Women’s and Men’s line-ups to be confirmed late November/early December.