Jerzy Janowicz was once so poor that New Yorkers coughed up to buy him tennis shoes at the U.S. Open before his parents sold their sports shop to keep their son on the road.

Two years ago, when he was ranked at a lowly 221 in the world, the giant Pole didn't have the cash to buy an air ticket to the Australian Open and in his junior days, he even was offered fantastic riches to dump Poland and play for Qatar. No wonder the 22-year-old native of Lodz collapsed in tears after reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon on Wednesday. The victory made him the first Polish man to reach the last-four of a major while it also permanently banished his financial worries. As a semi-finalist he collects at least $610,000.AFP