NEW YORK — Just over an hour after Frances Tiafoe upset 22-time major champion Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, on Monday in front of an adoring near-capacity crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium to advance to his first US Open quarterfinals, his night somehow got even better.
While checking his phone after getting back to the locker room, he spotted a tweet from LeBron James about what he had just done.
Alongside a video of the match’s final moments posted by the tournament’s account, James wrote, “CONGRATS Young King!!! You earned it!” Tiafoe couldn’t believe it.
“Man, I was losing it in the locker room,” Tiafoe told reporters later while laughing. “Bro, I was going crazy.”
Tiafoe said he hesitated before retweeting it, wanting to at least look like the tweet wasn’t a huge deal.
“I was like, ‘Do I retweet it as soon as he sent it?’ I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to be cool and act like I didn’t see it and then retweet it three hours later,'” Tiafoe explained.
Tiafoe has channeled James before in some of his postmatch celebrations and he went on to call him, “my guy” Monday. He also said Rich Paul, James’ agent, sent him a text after the match to congratulate him.
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards — Tiafoe’s favorite team — was seated in his player box during the match.
Tiafoe said it was Beal’s first time attending a tennis match but likely not his last.
“He wants to come again,” Tiafoe said. “It was cool. Special day for me.”
CONGRATS Young King!!! You earned it! @FTiafoe 🙏🏾✊🏾🤎👑 https://t.co/QQ0Jn7Lotp
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 5, 2022
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 5, 2022