Mrs. Michelle Obama, wife of former President of United States of American, Barack Obama, showed up to support Sierra Leone, England international tennis player Frances Tiafoe against Rafa Nadal in the U.S. Open.
Frances Tiafoe metabolises a crowd’s energy the way other players rely on protein bars.
Tiafoe, the son of parents from Sierra Leone who learned to play at College Park’s Junior Tennis Champions Center, is one of the game’s best young showmen.
He has the talent and charisma to stir a crowd into a frenzy, the athleticism and shot-making to draw oohs and aahs.
His performances in front of the rowdy crowd of the U.S. Open can feel more like wrestling matches than tennis matches.
With a smart, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Rafael Nadal, he displayed a tactician’s discipline in ousting the 22-time Grand Slam champion. He is through to his first U.S. Open quarterfinal — and the second major quarterfinal of his career — thanks to a master class in energy management and taking one’s chances when they come.
When he clinched it by forcing a backhand error from Nadal, he chucked his racket toward his chair and placed his hands around his head. Those in his player box — including his father, who worked as a maintenance manager at the JTCC; his mother; and his favorite NBA player, the Wizards’ Bradley Beal — leaped to their feet, hands in the air.