How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals
Share All sharing options for: Frances Tiafoe going from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals
When Frances Tiafoe was in eighth grade, he spent his summer after school playing tennis at a tennis center in his hometown of Santa Monica. It was his first real introduction to the sport, and at age 13 he loved it so much that he never went back to his regular class.
Tiafoe was so good that he made the junior national team, then did a year overseas in Dubai, before making his way back to the States and making himself into a professional tennis player.
By the time he was a junior, Tiafoe was just as good as any player he had heard of—the two-time junior champion, and one of the Top 10 players in the world at the time, was only about 15 years old.
But it wasn’t until he started turning pro that Tiafoe really had a breakthrough, and he made it to the world’s top 10 list at 21. And when he became one of the best players in the world, the attention of the tennis elite and the mainstream media was overwhelming.
It was the attention that finally broke Tiafoe. And he took off from there, jumping to a top 10 in men’s doubles, his first Grand Slam semifinal, and then going on the US Open semifinal stage.
Tiafoe: “I didn’t know if people were going to be interested in me or what I was going to become, so I didn’t think so much about it. I was just going to enjoy the moment. I didn’t think too much about how I was going to spend my time.”
He made the US Open quarterfinals twice, and finished the year as the number two player in the world. But he was done at 22, and didn’t compete again until this year.
During that time, though, he made some serious errors. And that’s the reason he’s on this stage at the US Open. Just before the US Open began, Tiafoe took an unforced error deep into the second set of men’s doubles (a lead of 4-0, and