Frances Tiafoe, whose parents emigrated from Sierra-leone before he was born, is the youngest American man to reach a U.S. Open quarterfinal in 16 years, after defeating Rafael Nadal and ending the Tennis legend’s 22-match Grand Slam winning streak at Monday’s U.S. Open.
24 year old Frances Tiafoe won against Nadal and made it to the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the first time in his career, ESPN reported. Tiafoe’s 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over the No. 2 seed came in the fourth round at the famed Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows Queens.
An emotional Tiafoe couldn’t hold back his excitement on his historical feat.
“I FELT LIKE THE WORLD STOPPED,” TIAFOE SAID. “I COULDN’T HEAR ANYTHING FOR A MINUTE.”
Knowing his Sierra Leone-born parents, Constant and Alphina, were in a guest box and watching him play to victory was what made his U.S. Open victory the most satisfying.
“To see them experience me beat Rafa Nadal—they’ve seen me have big wins, but to beat those Mount Rushmore guys?” Tiafoe said.
“For them, I can’t imagine what was going through their heads. I mean, they’re going to remember today for the rest of their lives.”
The 22-seeded American is now the youngest American man to get this far at the U.S. Open since Andy Roddick in 2006.
After moving to Maryland, Constant helped build a tennis training center for juniors before taking on a maintenance job there. It was then when Frances Tiafoe started playing tennis as a child with hopes of receiving a college scholarship one day.
“IT WASN’T ANYTHING SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THIS,” TIAFOE SAID.