Tiafoe, of modest origin, activist and follower of LeBron

Tiafoe, of modest origin, activist and follower of LeBron

From Frances Tiafoe (Hyattsville, Maryland, 24), rival of Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals of U.S. Open this Friday, Saturday morning in Spain (01:00, Eurosport), It’s one of those stories that could very well end up being a Hollywood movie. His parents, Constant Tiafoe and Alphina Kamara, immigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone. He did it in 1993 and she followed him in 1996 fleeing the civil war in his country. Once in Maryland, Constant went to work as a temporary mason on the construction of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park. After the facilities were completed, he was hired as a caretaker and lived there with his children five days a week for 11 years. They also lived with their mother when she was not on night call as a nurse.

Enjoying their time at the club, Frances and her twin brother, Franklin, have been playing tennis regularly since they were four years old and in 2003 they started training. more seriously without paying the usual fees. Misha Kouznetsov was Frances’ first coach (she is now coached by former South African tennis player Wayne Ferreira) and He was with him for nine years until he moved to the United States Federation (USTA) National Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida.

“My goal in life was to give my all for my family, to put them in a great situation. Now I’m also fighting for myself”, said the executioner of Rafa Nadal in the round of 16 and Rublev in the quarter-finals, who could not sleep after beating the Balearics. “I bought a house for my mother in Maryland. My father lives in an apartment in Orlando,” revealed the current world number 26, before insisting that the well-being of his family came first: “It was clear to me that I wasn’t going to go to college, I wanted to do what I do. Tiafoe is proud of his Sierra Leonean background: “I posted a picture of me and my brother when we went there when we were seven or eight, and my mum keeps getting messages from there- down.

LeBron James fan

Besides the family theme that marked him a lot, Tiafoe does not hide his admiration for LeBron James and likes to celebrate his victories. mimicking the NBA star’s routine. The Lakers player knows it. “ESPN put up a video of the two of them doing this celebration with a sign that said Who does it better? And on Instagram, LeBron painted him a crown and two muscle emojis. I thought, he clearly knows who I am. She’s crazy. He’s a hero. I love basketball, but what he does off the court, his solidarity, is even better.” James congratulated him on social media for his victory against Nadal: “Congratulations young King, you deserve it. Frances is the first American semi-finalist at the US Open since Andy Roddick in 2006 and has only one title under her belt, Delray Beach in 2018. “Everyone is super capable. American tennis is in a great place, ”he pleads.

Now he has a great opportunity to make even more history if he beats Alcaraz again, like he did last year at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell: “If you’re really passionate about something, I think you can do anything and become obsessed with it. . Right now I’m very obsessed with tennis and I want to see how far I can go. Before knowing who he would face this Friday in the semi-finals, he made a wish which came true: “I really don’t have a preference. Either one is going to be tough. They are both great players. I just hope that they will play a marathon game, super long, and that they will be really tired (smile). Seriously, I think they will be Grand Slam champions when they have their careers, that’s for sure.” Alcaraz also spoke about his next opponent: “Everyone sees Tiafoe’s level, he beat Rafa and Rublev, he is playing very well and with a lot of confidence, this track is special for him. It will be a very tough battle.”

Besides tennis, although he is also linked to it in some way, Tiafoe is a committed activist for the rights of black people and collaborates, with colleagues like the legendary Serena Williams, with the movement Say their names (Say their names), which protests against cases of racist violence, sometimes by the police, unfortunately frequent in the United States.

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