CNN — After stunning 22-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal to reach the US Open quarterfinal on Monday, Frances Tiafoe threw his racket on the floor and covered his face in amazement.
The 24-year-old simply stood there soaking up the atmosphere created by a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium.
It felt like a seminal moment in the American’s career; a culmination of hard work and raw talent which has long been heralded as the potential future of men’s tennis in the country.
Expectations of Tiafoe have been high for a long time and the world No.26 is now looking more than comfortable on the sport’s biggest stage.
Should Tiafoe reach the semifinals by beating Andrey Rublev on Wednesday, he would record the best grand slam result of his career and the achievement will be made all the more impressive given his humble beginnings.
Tiafoe’s route into tennis, after all, was in no ways traditional.
His parents met in the US after leaving Sierra Leone and had twins together, Franklin and Frances.
Their father, Constant Tiafoe, started working at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in Washington, D.C. back in 1999 and eventually moved into one of its vacant storage rooms while working around the clock.
Source: How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open quarterfinals