His father was a janitor. Meet potential US Open champion Frances Tiafoe!

Frances Tiafoe has captured the imagination of the American public.

On Wednesday, he became the first American man to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since 2006 beating Andrey Rublev 7-6 (3), 7-6 (0), 6-4.

The last American to reach the semifinals at Flushing Meadows was Andy Roddick when he lost to Roger Fededer 16 years ago.

In fact, Roddick was also the last American man to win a Grand Slam singles title, winning the 2003 U.S. Open.

Coming back to Tiafoe, he had eliminated 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.

All of America will be watching as Tiafoe will play his first ever Grand Slam semifinal against No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz.

In the other semi-final, Casper Ruud will clash with Karen Khachanov.

Amongst the quartet, Ruud is the only one to have reached a Grand Slam final having finished runner-up at the French Open this year.

What’s the Tiafoe story

The 24-year-old Tiafoe grew up in Maryland in extremely humble circumstances.

Tiafoe’s parents were immigrants from Sierra Leone who fled owing to civil war in their country.

They made their way to America in the quest for a better life for their twin boys.

His father, Constant Tiafoe took a labouring job building a tennis centre in Maryland, where he also worked as a janitor.

His mother found employment, doing night shifts as a nurse and the family lived in a spare room at the tennis centre, often sleeping on a massage table.

The family could not afford lessons or equipment but Constant was a valued member of staff and the boys got a chance to play for free on the tennis courts.

Frances quickly got interested in the game.

Luckily, coach Misha Kouznetsov soon spotted his talent and started grooming him for a professional career.

Tiafoe went up the rankings in the junior circuit pretty fast.

However, he started making a real breakthrough in his career after hiring former top-10 player Wayne Ferreira as coach in 2020.

We wish Tiafoe all the best for the US Open and hope that this story inspires athletes all over the world to realise their dreams.


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