Frances Tiafoe shares rollercoaster journey to turning into one in all tennis’s prime gamers

Amna Nawaz:

Tiafoe is aware of the place he comes from, his 6’2″ body usually draped in hometown jerseys. The Maryland native is proudly DMV-made from the District/Maryland/Virginia space round Washington, D.C.

He went professional at 16, competing in Grand Slams since he was 17. He received his first in Delray Seashore, Florida, in 2018, made the quarterfinals on the 2019 Australian Open and once more that very same yr in Miami. However Tiafoe’s story, he says, started lengthy earlier than he ever picked up a racket, when his mother and father, Frances Tiafoe Sr. and Alphina Kamara, fled civil battle in Sierra Leone within the Nineteen Nineties, elevating Frances and his twin brother, Franklin, within the U.S.

His father labored in development, serving to to construct the U.S. Tennis Affiliation’s Junior Tennis Champion Heart, or JTCC, in Faculty Park, Maryland, then turning into its custodian. He slept in a spare workplace. The Tiafoe boys did too a number of days each week for over a decade.

It was there Frances Tiafoe first picked up a tennis racket, began coaching, and launched a profession that has already impressed a brand new technology of followers, followers who gathered within the heart his dad helped to construct to cheer on Tiafoe throughout final yr’s U.S. Open, followers who now see themselves in Tiafoe.

You might be solely the third American Black man to make it into the highest 10. Why have not there been extra?

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