U.S. Open 2015: Teenage tennis prodigy Tiafoe carries U.S. hopes

Publish Date : 2021-04-01


U.S. Open 2015: Teenage tennis prodigy Tiafoe carries U.S. hopes

The Maryland native made his grand slam debut in the French Open at Roland Garros earlier this summer, losing in the first round to Slovakia's Martin Kližan, a commonplace opening gambit for any tennis player on the rise, but his rise to this point has been anything but ordinary.

His parents left the West African nation of Sierra Leone, eventually meeting in the United States, where they would have twins, Franklin and Frances.



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Their father, Constant Tiafoe signed on as a day laborer at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in Washington, D.C. back in 1999.

While working around the clock, his father was forced to move into a vacant storage room at the tennis center, where his two boys would stay with him, sleeping on a massage table, while their mother worked night shifts as a nurse.

Tough upbringing

While much has been written of of the tennis prodigy's tough upbringing, Frances said he wouldn't change hit the world.

'Obviously, I wasn't the wealthy kid, or wasn't having all the new stuff or whatever. But I was just living life. I could play tennis for free, the sport I loved,' he told CNN.

At just 15 years old, Tiafoe won the prestigious Orange Bowl, became the youngest boys' singles champion in the tournament's history.

A remarkable feat when you consider the list of previous champions which include Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Ivan Lendl, Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.

Since, then Tiafoe has concentrated much of his energy in climbing the senior ranks, jumping from 1,151 to 275 in the world in the last year.

Teenage prospect

While many junior prodigy's have come and gone, Tiafoe's unique background and work ethic instilled by his parents, could well set him apart from the rest 'with them trying so hard, I felt like I didn't want to let them down.

'I felt like I didn't want to let the opportunities go for granted.'

This week his first opportunity to shine at the U.S. Open comes against the 22nd seed, Serbian Viktor Troicki, a tough opener Tuesday, but Tiafoe could enhance his already growing reputation with an upset victory.

Only 17 in January, he is the second-ranked junior in the world, but having turned professional earlier this year it is the full ATP Tour where the big-hitting Tiafoe is aiming to make his real impression and live up to his early promise.

While many junior prodigy's have come and gone, Tiafoe's unique background and work ethic instilled by his parents, could well set him apart from the rest 'with them trying so hard, I felt like I didn't want to let them down. 'Obviously, I wasn't the wealthy kid, or wasn't having all the new stuff or whatever. But I was just living life. I could play tennis for free, the sport I loved,' he told CNN. Teenage prospect Only 17 in January, he is the second-ranked junior in the world, but having turned professional earlier this year it is the full ATP Tour where the big-hitting Tiafoe is aiming to make his real impression and live up to his early promise. This week his first opportunity to shine at the U.S. Open comes against the 22nd seed, Serbian Viktor Troicki, a tough opener Tuesday, but Tiafoe could enhance his already growing reputation with an upset victory. At just 15 years old, Tiafoe won the prestigious Orange Bowl, became the youngest boys' singles champion in the tournament's history. Teenage prospect The Maryland native made his grand slam debut in the French Open at Roland Garros earlier this summer, losing in the first round to Slovakia's Martin Kližan, a commonplace opening gambit for any tennis player on the rise, but his rise to this point has been anything but ordinary. At just 15 years old, Tiafoe won the prestigious Orange Bowl, became the youngest boys' singles champion in the tournament's history. The Maryland native made his grand slam debut in the French Open at Roland Garros earlier this summer, losing in the first round to Slovakia's Martin Kližan, a commonplace opening gambit for any tennis player on the rise, but his rise to this point has been anything but ordinary. Only 17 in January, he is the second-ranked junior in the world, but having turned professional earlier this year it is the full ATP Tour where the big-hitting Tiafoe is aiming to make his real impression and live up to his early promise. While much has been written of of the tennis prodigy's tough upbringing, Frances said he wouldn't change hit the world. While much has been written of of the tennis prodigy's tough upbringing, Frances said he wouldn't change hit the world. At just 15 years old, Tiafoe won the prestigious Orange Bowl, became the youngest boys' singles champion in the tournament's history. 'I felt like I didn't want to let the opportunities go for granted.' Since, then Tiafoe has concentrated much of his energy in climbing the senior ranks, jumping from 1,151 to 275 in the world in the last year.

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