How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals
When Frances Tiafoe was 18 in 2012, she didn’t have a clue where she was going to play tennis.
Frances Tiafoe at a tennis match during her junior years in Switzerland.
The University of Michigan sophomore who played tennis growing up in the United States is a one-of-a-kind talent.
She didn’t even know her name, until a friend of a friend found her name on an out-of-order list in the women’s doubles draw for a WTA tournament in Montreal.
Frances, the only daughter of Kenya and an American father, would soon be one of the most recognizable American tennis players of her generation.
She was named the No. 6-ranked woman in the world, the youngest in the top 10 and was ranked No. 1 in singles for 24 of the 30 weeks of the season.
But as the WTA said in a 2012 press release, “Frances didn’t have much idea about what was going on. A friend of a friend found her name on an out-of-order list in the women’s doubles draw at the Canada Cup, and she was hooked.
“She immediately emailed the organizers of the event, who invited her to visit.”
That’s when Tiafoe says she was told she could go to the tournament, and “they even set up a coach for her to take with her when she arrived.”
“So I was given her phone number and asked, ‘Hey, come on down. We’ll give you a coach to take with you.’ I got a coach right there on campus, so he was basically like my dad and mom and my grandpa,” she said.
“So, I just jumped in the car with my new coach and I flew to North America.”
She flew to the Montreal Grand Prix to play doubles with partner Lauren Davis but didn’t have any matches planned before making it to the playoffs.
The tournament organizers called Tiafoe to tell her she made it to the playoffs.
“And I’m like, ‘What exactly