Frances Tiafoe has revealed that he did not apologise to Roger Federer after beating him in his final professional match on Friday. And the American joked that it is the 20-time Grand Slam winner who should be saying sorry after ‘beating everyone on the tour’ over the last 24 years.
Tiafoe and fellow American Jack Sock teamed up to defeat Federer and Rafael Nadal 4-6, 7-6, 11-9 at the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena in London, with the Swiss legend then taking to the microphone to deliver a tearful and heartfelt speech shortly afterwards.
Tiafoe continued his fine form into Sunday, and beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in singles to seal Team World’s first-ever win at the competition, leading to scenes of joyous celebration amongst him and his team.
Speaking in a press conference afterwards, the 24-year-old was asked whether he had apologised to Federer for taking a small amount of the shine off his big moment. But he delivered a ruthless response, saying: “Absolutely not. I want to see him lit, but I’m not going to apologise to him.
“He’s got a lot to apologise for after the last 24 years after beating everyone on the tour! No, I won’t aplogise but I will say thank you for having me in this amazing event and for what he’s done for the game. He’s a class act.
“I’m happy to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague, and best wishes in his second act. But I will not apologise.”
Tiafoe did also pay a heartfelt tribute to Federer on court immediately after his Tsitsipas win. “The result when playing him was irrelevant,” he said. “Just to be across the net from him that day, that’s what mattered. Tennis won that night.
“Playing him was unbelievable. He’s such an inspiration to this game, unbelievable ambassador we’ve had for 20-plus years. “We’re all gonna miss him. He’s a stand-up guy. He’s an even better person than a tennis player.
“Hats off to him, we’re gonna miss him dearly. I’m not gonna miss him beating everyone and myself at Grand Slams. Legends never die.”