You can’t keep a good guy down!
American tennis player Frances Tiafoe defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas, winning the 1st round of Wimbledon, The Grio reports.
Tiafoe is the son of Sierra Leonean immigrants. His father fled the civil war and uprooted his family across continents to settle in Maryland, where he worked as a janitor. Those humble beginnings have motivated Tiafoe, who worked his way through the ranks, receiving praise from LeBron James and formerly being represented by Jay-Z’s RocNation.
Ranked 57th globally with a 0-11 record against players ranked in the top five, Tiafoe delivered a major upset recently at Wimbledon. The 23-year-old defeated third seed Tsitsipas with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, getting him out of the competition in the first round.
“I feel like I always play really good tennis against the top guys,” Tiafoe told reporters.
His focus is constantly getting better at his craft, boosting his ranking despite what people may think he’s capable of.
“In the early years of my career, I had such an urgency to get to the top and make real money. Now I want to get myself back to a higher ranking. I know I can play. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved, but there’s a lot more to do,” Tiafoe said.
He credits Venus and Serena Williams with inspiring him to step his game up and be a role model for Black people across the globe.
“That’s what it’s all about. Without the Williams sisters, there is no Naomi Osaka, no Coco Gauff, no Sloane Stephens, no Madison Keys point-blank. They put people of color in the position to believe they can do it as the underdog. I want to be that guy for the men’s side. I want to be one of the guys who can put two weeks together and win a slam. It doesn’t matter how small or big your platform is; everyone has people who want to be like them. To be that guy, to inspire them, to be there and pick up the phone when they call, representation is everything,” Tiafoe said.
The rising star had been preparing for victory way before the competition, telling reporters days before his game against Tsitsipas that those were the kind of matches he “get[s] up for.”
Congratulations, Frances! We’re rooting for you!
Photo Courtesy of USOpen