Frances Tiafoe is the last American man standing at the US Open in the singles. The 24-year-old is one match away from his maiden slam
It’s all a far cry from where Tiafoe started. When a 16-year-old hit the Futures circuit, the lowest rung of the professional tennis circuit, no one knew quite what to expect. Many players start their professional life on the futures circuit, sadly many quit before reaching the heights of Grand Slam success.
Low level prize money, barely any spectators and certainly no scoreboard or line judges on the futures circuit. It’s where the grind where players start out on their hopeful dream of being the best in the world or at least a Grand Slam champion.
Ending a 19-year drought?
Andy Roddick was the last American male to win a Grand Slam singles title, way back in 2003 at Flushing Meadows. Since then, the country has been seriously lacking on the ATP side of potential Grand Slam winners. Roddick was a finalist three years later in New York, and another three years later at Wimbledon.
America has had no one else reach the latter stages of a Grand Slam on the men’s side since that time. With Tiafoe, the U.S. finally has a male worthy of reaching the final stages. The 24-year-old shocked the tennis world when he defeated 22-time Slam winner Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.
Tiafoe followed this up with a straight sets win over ninth seed Andrey Rublev to make his first Grand Slam semifinal. The American and #22 seed will play Carlos Alcaraz for a place in the final of the US Open.
Tiafoe season didn’t start well. He fell to fellow American Taylor Fritz in the second round of the Australian Open, and then in the same round at Indian Wells, where Rublev defeated him in straight sets. The Miami Open saw an improvement as Tiafoe made the third round. Houston saw Tiafoe make the quarterfinal, losing out to the more well known John Isner.
Clay courts have not been good to the American, Estoril being the best where he made the final before losing in straight sets. From Barcelona to the French Open Tiafoe could only make either the first or second round. Grass has not seen him fare much better. First round exits at both Queens Club and Eastbourne, before a fourth round exit at Wimbledon in an entertaining five set match.
Some good wins on the American hard court swing have given Tiafoe a boost. Culminating in reaching his first Grand Slam semi final, and aiming to match Roddick and make the final, if not win the title. Facing (opponents name) will be a tricky match, however the American should have no fear. Having taken out higher seeds already Tiafoe can be confident of giving Alcaraz a very good match.
Americans will hope that Tiafoe can make the final at the very least, and will be wanting to end their short wait for a male Champion–short compared to Britain who had to wait 77 years for a male Grand Slam champion. Tiafoe can end the American wait much sooner.
Main Photo from Getty.