“Very disappointing”: Tennis community upset with Frances Tiafoe for posing with Pro-Vladmir Putin hockey player

Frances Tiafoe became a rising star at the age of 15 as the youngest player ever to win the 2013 Orange Bowl tournament and at 17 became the youngest player to feature at the French Open since Micheal Chang in 1989.

However, since then his career has been a mixed bag, with only three ATP 500 career titles. He has not reached the finals of any Masters 1000 or Grand Slam tournament and the American seats below world top 15 on the ranking. The player has now found himself at the center of controversy after associating with a Russian hockey professional.

Frances Tiafoe poses with Pro-Putin hockey player

American tennis star Frances Tiafoe, who ended his season after falling to a defeat to Alexander Bublik at the Round of 64 in the Rolex Paris Masters, has been on vacation. The 25-year-old created time to visit one of his favorite local teams competing in the NHL.

Frances Tiafoe was raised in Hyattsville, Maryland, a close urban suburb of Washington DC, and it is not by accident that he is a supporter of the NBA’s Washington Wizards. It is reported that he is also fond of the Washington Capitals, competing in the National Hockey League in the USA.

Frances Tiafoe

Tiafoe paid a visit while the Capitals players were set to commence their practice on Tuesday, encouraging the ice hockey team with a great show-up. The American tennis star was given a warm welcome by the team and tried to test his hockey skills with the stick but that didn’t go down well as he failed to control a pass before he switched it up to a tennis racket, and then he was more at ease.

Before leaving, Frances Tiafoe then finished off by meeting Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals captain, in the locker room, and the two posed for a photo. Ovechkin was holding a signed tennis racket from Tiafoe. In the second picture, Tiafoe was gifted a signed hockey stick and jersey in exchange by the Russian player. But that get-together moment sparked fury and outrage on social media because of Ovechkin’s close links with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Five years ago, Alexander Ovechkin announced the ‘PutinTeam’ social media movement to drum up support for Putin’s 2018 Russian presidential campaign. In addition, the Washington Capitals captain has been reported on several occasions to have had the Russian President’s personal phone number and receiving a gift from him at his wedding in 2016.

Tennis fans are unhappy with Frances Tiafoe

The picture of Frances Tiafoe posing with the 38-year-old Alexander Ovechkin has caused angry fans reactions with some terming it “shameful” in a comment posted below the picture. Several of the American star’s fans have reacted to the picture saying they has lost the respect they had for him.

Another fan wrote on X formerly known as Twitter, “Shameful @FTiafoe, very disappointing.”

Another user wrote, “I had a lot of respect for you on and off the court. Not anymore”

“You are another fan of killing children and women, The Shame!”, a fan reacted, while another fan wrote “Clowns!”

Frances Tiafoe, who fell to a defeat against Canadian Milos Raonic at the National Bank Open and has struggled this season to lift a trophy or make it beyond the round of 16 of any competition since losing to Ben Shelton at the US Open quarterfinals, has now found himself at the opposite side he would have loved to be.

Victor Okechukwu

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