Black History Month Profile:
Ashley Marshall | February 5, 2016
Never in tennis history have there been as many promising, talented African-American tennis players as there are today. In celebration of Black History Month, here is a look at one of those players – following in the tradition of Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and the Williams sisters – who is on the cusp of breaking through and leaving his very own imprint on the top ranks of the professional game.
The Frances Tiafoe File
Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
Current Rank: 181
Career-High Rank: 176 (December 2015)
Getting to Know Frances Tiafoe:
- Born in Hyattsville, Md., Tiafoe and his twin brother Franklin grew up playing tennis at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in College Park, Md., where their father worked as a custodian.
- Last year, Tiafoe won the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge to earn a spot in the 2015 French Open, where he made his Grand Slam main-draw debut.
Tiafoe also won the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships last summer to earn a wild card into the 2015 US Open, where he pushed No. 22 seed Viktor Troicki in three tough sets.
- As a junior, Tiafoe reached No. 2 in the ITF rankings in April 2014. In 2013, at age 15, he won the prestigious Orange Bowl, becoming the youngest boys’ champion in the 67-year history of the event. He then went on to claim the Easter Bowl the following spring. His last junior tournament was the 2014 US Open, where he reached the boys’ singles semifinals.
- Tiafoe won his first USTA Pro Circuit singles title in 2015 at the $15,000 Futures in Bakersfield, Calif. Tiafoe, who turned pro in early 2015, reached three additional USTA Pro Circuit singles finals in 2015 to propel him into the Top 200 of the world rankings. He is currently the youngest player in the Top 200.
- Last March, Tiafoe served as a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team against Great Britain in Scotland.