Frances Tiafoe meets Michelle Obama after a wild match at the US Open

  • American tennis star Frances Tiafoe faced Carlos Alcaraz in a blockbuster US Open semifinal match.
  • Michelle Obama was on the sidelines at Arthur Ashe Stadium Cheers for the 24-year-old Maryland native.
  • After Tiafoe lost, the former first lady met with him and offered him praise and affirmation.

Frances Tiafoe enjoyed the ride of his fledgling career at the 2022 US Open.

The 24-year-old Maryland native became the first American to reach a semifinal match at Flushing Meadows since Andy Roddick reached the Grand Slam final in 2006. On Friday, he faced then world No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz in a High Tiafoe had a megawatt fan in the stands and awaited a matchup with a trip to the championship game at stake.

Michelle Obama sits on the sidelines at the US Open.

Obama sits on the sidelines at the US Open.

REUTERS/Mike Segar

Former first lady Michelle Obama sat in the front row at Arthur Ashe Stadium as Tiafoe played a five-set thriller against Alcaraz. Despite losing a 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6 decision to the eventual US Open Champion, Tiafoe put up an admirable fight throughout the affair โ€“ every four hours and 19 minutes.

Obama visibly cheered the young American star throughout the game. And when it was over, she was one of the first to tell Tiafoe how proud she was of his efforts.

“He was watching. He’s so proud of you,” Obama said, probably referring to her husband, the 44th President of the United States. “We are both very proud of you.”

Frances Tiafoe.

Tiafoe celebrates defeating Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the US Open.

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

She was also careful to defend herself against the apology Tiafoe made during his on-pitch interview after the game. He had said he felt he was letting the crowd down, which Obama assured him was decidedly not the case.

“You didn’t let anyone down tonight,” Obama said. “Don’t even let that spirit come over you. You were amazing, you were amazing, you made us all so proud.โ€

She then offered some classic mom-ism: “I hope you had fun out there!”

Frances Tiafoe.

Tiafoe celebrates winning quarterfinals against Andrey Rublev.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

After exchanging more pleasantries, Obama promised to let Tiafoe continue his evening and hopefully get some rest. When he said it was an honor to meet her, she replied, “The honor is all mine โ€” just keep it up.”

Check out the behind-the-scenes clip of their interaction below:

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