From Sleeping at a Tennis Center, to playing in the US Open Semifinals: The Story of Frances Tiafoe

Frances Tiafoe defeated Andrey Rublev in straight sets Wednesday to become the first American man to make the US Open Semifinals since 2006. However, Tiafoe’s journey into becoming the world’s 22nd ranked professional tennis player was anything but ordinary.

His parents met in the United States, after leaving Sierra Leone and had twins together, Frances and his brother Franklin. His father started working as a Custodian at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in Washington D.C. in 1999 and in order to accommodate his around-the-clock shifts, moved into one of the Center’s vacant storage rooms.

Frances and his brother would oftentimes stay with him, sleeping on a massage table in the storage room while their mother worked night shifts as a nurse. This unorthodox introduction to the sport of Tennis gave Tiafoe an opportunity to embark on his journey of becoming a professional tennis player.

With the work ethic of his parents grounding him, he went on to win the Orange Bowl, one of tennis’s most revered junior tournaments, becoming the youngest to do so in the tournament’s history and joining a list of former champions which includes Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Ivan Lendl, Jim Courier, John McEnroe, and Bjorn Borg.

Tiafoe went pro in 2015, getting acclimated with the grind of the senior tour as well as breaking into the world’s top 100, reaching his first quarterfinal at the Australian Open in 2019.

Three years later and Frances now finds himself in the US Open finals, already recording the best grand slam result of his career, and striving for more.

However, despite the weight of American Tennis on his shoulders, he keeps a humble and steadying perspective in mind, making his parent’s proud. “With them trying so hard, I felt like I didn’t want to let them down,” he told CNN Sport in 2015. “I felt like I didn’t want to let the opportunities go for granted.”

Tiafoe’s rise is no overnight success story, it’s the result of a lifelong dedication to the sport he loves, a mentality that will not be refused, and the work ethic of his parents which gave him the opportunity to succeed.

We celebrate Tiafoe’s rise at A&A and celebrate the American Dream- where one can start with humble beginnings and grow to global success.

As the exclusive Janitorial Services Provider for the USTA over the last 15 years, A&A congratulates Frances Tiafoe on his journey to success, as well as the promising future still ahead. Good luck Frances!

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