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A Rare Tennis Assist

Apr 7, 2014


Tiafoe advanced on a pair of borrowed shoes

John Stockton dishing dimes to Karl Malone on fast breaks.

A Real Madrid teammate launching a crisp pass to Cristiano Ronaldo for a majestic goal.

Bryce Harper heaving a heater to cut down a runner at the plate.

Assists in most sports are commonplace.  But tennis?  Unless you count in-match coaching or your partner setting you up for a overhead smash in doubles, the stat is not in the dialect of tennis.

That is until Francis Tiafoe of Junior Tennis Champions Center received a timely gift from the announcers table in his quarterfinal match at the USTA International Spring Championships in Carson, California.

Amidst a clash with No. 8 seed Sameer Kumar, Tiafoe combated faulty footwear.  Eventually, his shoes deteriorated to the point of no use.  Ken Thomas, a host, was broadcasting live and remarkably happens to wear the same size Adidas.  Thomas relinquished a pair to the grateful Tiafoe.

“The radio guy helped me huge,” said Tiafoe to Steve Pratt of “It was awful. I couldn’t move to my right it and it was all peeled back. And they were Adidias, my company, so that was huge.”

After noticing Tiafoe’s helpless state, Thomas felt compelled to act.

“He asked what size and I said a 10,” Thomas said to Pratt. “No one was helping the kid. You can hurt yourself. That was pretty wild. I would have done the same for Kumar.”

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