Frances Tiafoe reckons the sport was the winner on the night after he lost to young gun Carlos Alcaraz in the US Open semifinals on Friday.
The battle between the two first-time Major semifinalists lived up to its billing, as Alcaraz needed to go the distance for the third match running to reach the title match.
After dropping the opener in a tiebreak, Alcaraz came roaring back into the contest - conceding only four games in the next two sets. Tiafoe stymied the Spaniard's juggernaut by taking the fourth in another tiebreak. Although the American recovered from a break down in the decider, he was powerless to stop Alcaraz from wheezing past the finish line.
Reflecting on his loss, Tiafoe said in his post-match press conference that he would have loved to emerge triumphant, but the sport was the real winner on the night. Observing that the crowd got to witness another spectacle.
"The tennis definitely matched the hype of the match. Unbelievable shot-making, gets, extending points, crazy shots, I mean, at crazy times," he said.
He added that there was ample support for both players on the night.
"I was getting riled up," said Tiafoe. "People love to see that guy play, so they were getting behind him, too. Obviously I would have loved to win tonight, but I think tennis won tonight."
"I think the crowd got what they expected. I just wish I was the one who got the W. But it was unbelievable to be a part of. A lot of who's who in there. At the end of the day I have to be happy. I gave everything that I had," he added.
Alcaraz will now take on Casper Ruud on Sunday, with the winner set to become the newest Grand Slam champion and the World No. 1. Meanwhile, Frances Tiafoe is set to break into the top 20 for the first time.
"He's one of the best players in the world" - Frances Tiafoe on Carlos Alcaraz
Frances Tiafoe commended his semifinal conqueror - calling him one of the best players in the world.
In what has been a banner year for the teenager, Alcaraz is now just one win away from becoming the first teenager to become the World No. 1. Lleyton Hewitt was three months shy of his 21st birthday when he became the world's top-ranked player in late 2000.
Observing how tough it is to play Alcaraz, Tiafoe said that the Spaniard made some impressive retrievals on the night and is one of the best movers in the sport.
"I think it's going to be very tough to play him," said Tiafoe. "He's one of the best players in the world, for sure. He's so young. He hits the ball so hard. I never played a guy who moves as well as him, honestly. He's a hell of a player. He's going to be a problem for a very long time."
Frances Tiafoe also lauded Alcaraz for his impressive composure in big moments despite his young age.
"For him to be so young, being so poised in big moments, I take my hat off and I got a lot of respect for him," he said.
Alcaraz will now look to become only the second teenager after Pete Sampras in 1990 to triumph at Flushing Meadows.