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Frances Tiafoe talks meeting Michelle Obama after US Open semifinal
The former First Lady was on hand to support Tiafoe through his five-set effort against Carlos Alcaraz on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Published Sep 10, 2022
WATCH: A DMV native, Tiafoe thrilled his home crowd at the Citi Open earlier this summer by reaching the quarterfinals.
NEW YORK—Of all those cheering on Frances Tiafoe for his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open , the American shouted out one fan in particular: former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Though Mrs. Obama enjoyed special recognition on the Arthur Ashe Stadium jumbotron, Tiafoe, a DMV native, admitted he saw her just as the match was getting underway.
“I mean, I seen her like 2-1 in the first, kind of turned my head right,” he said after the five-set defeat to Alcaraz. “She looked at me. Before they announced her, put it on the Jumbotron, I already seen her. Everybody was pointing at her.
“I think I shanked a return. Yeah, she thinks I'm a bum, can't make a return!
“Seeing her there was crazy. Obviously, there was a lot of who's who in there tonight. Obviously, we all know what she means. Crazy.”
Mrs. Obama stayed for the duration of the 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 classic, and Tiafoe revealed he got a chance to meet her after the titanic effort.
“Seen her before, but it's a little bit different circumstance. She sees me and she's actually excited to see me. Yeah, unbelievable. Unbelievable night.”
Tiafoe leaves Flushing Meadows with plenty of positives, having not only become the first men’s US Open semifinalist since Andy Roddick in 2006, but also the first Black American man to make it that far since Arthur Ashe.
“I haven't even let it soak in yet, honestly,” he said after affirming he felt ready to win the title. “But craziest two weeks of my life. Craziest two weeks of my life. Stuff you dream about doing…Beating Rafa, being the only player to beat Rafa in a slam this year, the year he's had. Him being in the race to be No. 1 in the world, shut that down.
“Just saying you beat him in a Grand Slam. Me beating him two-out-of-three, Grand Slam, it's not an easy task. To have my first time beat him here in New York in front of everybody and seeing what that meant, that was crazy.
“Being able to back it up, too. A lot of people beat him and don't back it up. That was a lot of growth coming out. And playing Andrey and beating him, then playing an unbelievable match tonight.
“Crazy two weeks. I really need to soak it in to give you an answer.”