Frances Tiafoe: The Story of the World’s Most Influential Player

How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals, and how ESPN has a lot of explaining to do

by Tim Gagne

You had to give Frances Tiafoe a lot of credit for the way he has turned himself around in the year and a half since he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the second round of the 2012 US Open.

He had just lost his No. 1 ranking and had his No. 3 ranking taken from him and everything was going south before he ever got to the open. You know he didn’t have the talent or the desire to deal with the struggles he was going through, so he made the change to his sleeping situation, and that was it.

No pressure. No one expected him to keep up his success when he was so close to falling apart. After he made the change, he hit the road with his friend, and that became an instant success story.

He put enough of his career on hold to get to the point he was in the world-ranked No. 30 at the time and had an unblemished record in four Grand Slam tournaments, he entered the US Open, won all five of his round-robin matches to tie for the No. 5 ranking heading into the U.S. Open final. Then he defeated Del Potro in a five-setter in the US Open final to lift the No. 5 ranking back up to No. 1, and it was the only time he had ever done that in his career.

It was amazing. I wish I could have had the camera rolling while he walked off the courts so we could have seen it. I heard the entire interview, which was about 30 minutes. It was an amazing interview, and you can see that with the way he went from where he was at to where he is now.

The entire interview was one of the most inspiring stories in my entire life, and he had the full support of his family and his fans during the difficult period he went through.

I have to say, he has never forgotten what he

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