Tiafoe backed for 'special' Wimbledon by former coach

By Sports Desk July 04, 2023

Frances Tiafoe "undoubtedly" has the potential to win a grand slam and do "something special" at Wimbledon, so says his former coach Zack Evenden.

Tiafoe surged into the world's top 10 in June after winning the Stuttgart Open, Tiafoe achieving a career-high ranking after his triumph in Germany.

Wimbledon will be the next challenge in Tiafoe's sights, with the 25-year-old looking to build upon his last-four appearance at the 2022 US Open – his best finish in one of the four majors.

Evenden oversaw Tiafoe's his first ATP title in 2018 before the pair parted ways three years later, and he sees no reason why the American cannot go all the way to glory.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the inaugural Tennis Black List at the LTA National Tennis Centre, Evenden said: "We worked together for four years and every day he stressed me out, but it was because I knew this was waiting at the end of the road and I know he's got much further to go.

"I think it's only a matter of time before he now figures out a way to get to the top five and then hopefully it's only a matter of time before that slam comes."

Asked whether Tiafoe had the ability to go all the way in a major, Evenden added: "Undoubtedly. That's no doubt, it's just a matter of when for me. I've never doubted that from him for a minute."

Evenden, who was replaced by former top-10 player Wayne Ferreira in 2021, believes Tiafoe's technique is perfectly suited for Wimbledon, where he faces Yibing Wu in his opening round on Tuesday.

He continued: "That quick whip take-back, short, compact backhand. He has got all the touch and all the feel.

"I think he's got so much potential on the grass. I've always thought that and I think that this year, we could see something special from him."

Pete Sampras won Wimbledon seven times across his illustrious career, while Andre Agassi triumphed once in SW19. Andy Roddick, meanwhile, reached three finals at the All England Club, and Evenden is confident Tiafoe can deal with the pressure of being compared to his compatriots.

"As with everyone, it takes a while for you to come to terms with the pressure and come to terms with the success too because it's hard winning because you got to sacrifice so much," he said. 

"Someone with such a personality like him, he's got to sacrifice more than other players. I think he deals with it very well.

"I think he's taken some huge steps in dealing with it and figuring out what works for him and what he needs to do. Obviously, he loves to show up at the big events. I think he's only going to get better."

America has not had a male grand slam singles winner since Roddick triumphed at the US Open back in 2003.

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