The result is sometimes insignificant to Frances Tiafoe as long as he has given everything and entertained the crowd, but the American was nonetheless delighted to pick up the biggest win of his career against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday.
Tiafoe, ranked 49th in the world and a qualifier at this week’s ATP 500 event in Vienna, came back from 0-3 down in the deciding set to stun world number three and top-seed Tsitsipas 3-6 6-3 6-4 and book a spot in the quarter-finals.
His biggest win before Thursday had also come against Tsitsipas when he dumped the Greek, then ranked fourth, out of Wimbledon in the first round in June.
“You’ve got fans going nuts early in the match. I want to play. I want to be out there, I want to give it my all. You’ve got little kids screaming ‘Big Foe’ and that’s what it’s about,” the 23-year-old said.
“It’s almost irrelevant who you’re playing. Obviously I want to beat Stefanos and these guys, it’s always good to have on the resume. It’s been great.”
Tiafoe, who reached a career-best ranking of 29th in early 2019, will next meet Argentine Diego Schwartzman.
Born to parents who emigrated from Sierra Leone in 1996, Tiafoe is a crowd favourite wherever he plays because of his shirt-ripping, fist-pumping routines and his LeBron James-inspired celebrations after the match.
“I just love playing in a packed house. I feel at home. I feel like that’s what it’s about,” Tiafoe added. “The result is almost irrelevant sometimes.
“You have kids coming out, parents bring these kids out, pay their hard-earned money to come watch me play. I want people to have fun just like I’m having fun … I feel it’s my duty to ‘A’, bring it, give my all, but also to make sure everyone has fun.
“That kid at the top of the stadium, I want them going home remembering (they) watched Frances Tiafoe play and (they) had a great time.”