How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals.
A tennis player in New York last night, one without a net and with one of her feet in a cast, awoke in the early afternoon to find one of her teammates — whom she had been sleeping with — at the center.
“I didn’t really know him, but I had been sleeping with a couple of teammates, and I ended up with him,” Tiafoe said after her 3-1, 6-7 (3), 7-5 (4), 6-3 win. “He was sitting and watching me sleep on his couch.”
The teammate, a man in his 20s who is not involved with her career and has a tennis partner in his 20s, had been sleeping on a floor with Tiafoe for the past week while he completed his studies at NYU. They had slept in one another’s apartment. He had left his tennis partner’s belongings in her room, so Tiafoe was his only roommate.
Tennis Center: A place like no other
Until this past weekend, Tiafoe had only been at NYC Tennis Center a few days a week over the past two years. She had quit traveling because of the “difference of opinion in my ability to travel.” She has been a student and a professional since she was 15. In 2016, after playing her first match since her 2016 hip surgery, she took in the US Open for the first time since 2015.
She slept in a hospital room during one of her matches, and the tournament was cancelled because of the coronavirus.
She had a chance to see the US Open for the first time since its 2020 tournament began, when she flew there with her mother and her friend’s family. She had been to the tournament only once before.
“It was a whirlwind of emotions,” Tiafoe said. “I definitely don’t think it was any one thing, but I definitely experienced a lot of emotions. Especially after the fact, I probably cried a lot. I definitely have some big scars from this experience. I would probably say the biggest part of my life right now is my mental health.”
Now she is a semifinalsist at the US Open.