Author: Jean

Frances Tiafoe: The Lost Classic

Frances Tiafoe: The Lost Classic

How Frances Tiafoe went from sleeping at a tennis center to the US Open semifinals

Frances Tiafoe has experienced plenty as a tennis player:

• She was a college athlete and had her pro career to herself until 2008 when she began dating Nick Kyrgios, a rising star on the Australian Tour.

• She played her first tournament as a junior pro as a wild card at Wimbledon when she won a $10,000 first place prize, and earned her first prize money on a full pro tour at the Australian Open.

• In the wake of the match against Samantha Stosur, where she lost to Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, she had a new contract with Nike worth $2 million guaranteed, and won the grand prize at the Australian Open.

• The next year she made a surprise appearance at the US Open quarterfinals as a qualifier. The next year, she was back at the US Open, this time as a wild-card entry and ended up losing in the second round to Kim Clijsters.

When she returned to the Australian Open in 2015, she finished the year ranked 11th, and had to play at the tournament as a wild-card for a third straight year. The 2014 US Open, a Grand Slam for the ages, is known in Australia as “The Lost Classic.”

Tiafoe beat Madison Keys and No. 33 seed Francesca Schiavone to reach the US Open semifinals. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In a month and a half, she lost in the second round to Caroline Wozniacki in the US Open semifinals, and finished 2014 as the fifth-best player in the world, down three places from her ranking at the start of the year. This year has the same ranking issue as she would have had she been playing in the top-50.

But this has always been her plan at this point. She is a self-described tennis nerd who plays tennis to be happy, and enjoys competing against women.

She has been

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