Frances Tiafoe accomplishes a first-time feat at Wimbledon

Tiafoe has not had the best of years in 2024, but something he did in the first-round at Wimbledon should give him some hope.
Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon 2024
Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon 2024 / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Frances Tiafoe is not having the year he wanted in 2024. He reached the top 10 of the ATP rankings last year, but this year he has seen his ranking plummet. Heading into Wimbledon, he was sitting at No. 29 and falling. He even had a losing record this year.

Some of those wins came at the Houston Open which is a clay court tournament that few top European players show up to. In other words, some of the wins that Tiafoe did have might come with a proverbial asterisk. The American can be great, but he can also be maddeningly inconsistent.

Such was the case in his first-round match at the grass-court major after he fell behind Matteo Arnaldi after the first two sets. The Italian is not a bad player so based on the kind of form Tiafoe has had this year coupled with the energy of the 23-year-old Arnaldi, the score at the start of the match was not surprising.

Frances Tiafoe comes back from two sets down to win a match for the first time in his career

The issue for Tiafoe, whose serve was inconsistent at best to begin the match, was that he had no personal experience where he had come back to win a match after being two sets down. He likely was not making post-Wimbledon plans already, but he surely had to have some doubts about his prospects at the event. This was likely the case even after the American smashed the Italian 6-1 in the third set.

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As things turned out, however, what tennis fans saw early in the match was not reality. The third set was. After taking the first two sets 7-6(5) 6-2, Arnaldi would only win seven more games as Tiafoe took the final three 6-1 6-3 6-3. While Tiafoe was not happy with the chair umpire due to some iffy calls, he was extremely emotional at the end of the match as winning might have even shocked him.

A confident Frances Tiafoe is dangerous to the rest of the Wimbledon field. He serves well enough to steal some games, and he has terrific athleticism. The key for him is consistency. If he can replicate the last three sets into full matches the rest of the way, he can make a deep run at Wimbledon 2024.

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