In a year of firsts for 16-year-old Junior Tennis Champions Center player Francis Tiafoe, Monday provided arguably the biggest so far: an ATP main draw debut in prime time on center court at his hometown Citi Open, to be broadcast live on national television.
With young guns Noah Rubin and Alexander Zverev recently taking the tennis headlines from more established stars, it was Tiafoe’s turn to take the tennis world’s attention. As usual, Twitter was the go-to source for everyone’s opinions.
First, there was the hype:
Then, the match. Tiafoe’s opponent was 24-year-old Russian Evgeny Donskoy, ranked No. 111 in the world. Tiafoe got off to a quick start, holding his first service game at love, with a booming ace to open the match.
From there, though, Tiafoe looked a little uncertain, with Donskoy breaking his serve and winning the first set 6-4.
After exchanging breaks in the second set, Donskoy broke again and held out for a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Despite the loss, praise came from all corners of the tennis world.
And everyone agreed Tiafoe is a natural for the big stage.
The morning after, Tiafoe was quoted in The Washington Post, invited on to the Tennis Channel set, and even featured as a shot of the day by the ATP.
All in all, a great debut for the young junior champion. A long road ahead, but certainly not the last time Twitter will obsess over this great American talent.