US Open star threatens to come after Rafael Nadal in warning

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Frances Tiafoe has fired Rafael Nadal a warning ahead of their fourth-round clash at the US Open. The American has lost to the 22-time Grand Slam champion in both of their previous meetings but said he now had the belief to win, claiming it would be “coming after” Nadal.

Tiafoe is through to the round-of-16 at the US Open for the third time, bidding to reach his first quarter-final at his home Grand Slam tournament. But he will have a huge task on his hands if he is to make a career-best showing in New York, as he takes on second seed Nadal on Monday.

It will be their third meeting, with the world No 26 also vying to get his first victory over the former world No 1. And Tiafoe seems up to the challenge, as he fired the Spaniard a spirited warning ahead of their showdown on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I’m definitely a different player from 2019, playing much better,” the 24-year-old said, referencing their previous two meetings which came at the Australian Open and Madrid Masters more than three years ago. “I’m not going to have that first time playing him [feeling], [I’m] just excited to play.”

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The American No 2 will also benefit from playing on the biggest showcourt at his home Grand Slam tournament and added: “I’m ready. I mean, I’m excited. We’re going to play on Ashe. The best court in tennis. I’ll be ready to give my best stuff.”

Tiafoe’s first meeting with the 36-year-old came in what was his first – and so far only – Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open. The 22nd seed in New York has never won a set against Nadal, having lost to him again a few months later on the clay in Madrid, but explained that he was now a completely different player with the belief that he could beat the world No 3.

“I’ve just matured honestly. I’ve just matured a lot. Then my game has gotten better. But, I mean, I’m serving better. Today I served diabolical,” the 24-year-old said after his statement three-set victory over 14th seed Diego Schwartzman.

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“I just have a lot more belief in myself. Now I believe I can beat [Nadal]. I’m definitely going to come after him.” And the 24-year-old showed how confident he was as he explained that he didn’t need to watch videos of Nadal to study his game, but remained full of praise for the four-time champion in Flushing Meadows.

“I mean, you’ve seen him so much,” he explained. “I’ve seen him growing up. I’ve played against him, practised against him. You know what he’s going to do. Sometimes it’s too good what he does.”

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