I’ve become a big Frances Tiafoe fan and will be cheering for him in his semi-final match against Carlos Alcaraz. That said, here we seem to be going again with the whole ‘next big thing’ for American mens tennis ascription.
Some Americans just seem to be so desperate to find someone to assign the next great mantel to, before the ultimate accomplishment – winning a grand slam title – actually happens. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that Ben Shelton made it to the finals in Cincinnati and American sportswriters were calling him the next great hope for American tennis? Then, whammo, Ben loses in the 1st round at the US Open.
Listen, I really hope Frances defeats Alcaraz and goes on to win the Open. But, might I suggest that writers and others who are quick to label a young player as the next great thing tone it down a bit and, instead, focus their attention on the next match, including what Tiafoe needs to do to beat Carlito, rather than prematurely applying all that ‘he’s the one’ exuberance?
If Frances is able to keep up this amazing run and actually win the Open, then we should start talking about his larger impact on tennis and beyond. He’s a really cool young man with an amazing story. But, for now, let’s put aside the notion of the next big hope and just hope he wins. Go Foe!