Frances Tiafoe starts new fund in hometown of D.C.

Frances Tiafoe returned home, to Washington D.C., for the Mudabala Citi DC Open. This is his yearly stop back home which tends to turn busy for one of the world’s newest tennis stars.

Tiafoe, 25, has been a hot name in the sport for some time now but recently boosted his name with his first-career top-10 ranking in July.

“I enjoy my time home, even though it’s a lot more wild than it used to be,” said Tiafoe, “I have family, friends, cousins here who are excited because they don’t usually get a chance to watch me play.”

via ESPN’s Andscape

Tiafoe frequents the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland, yearly, where he first developed his tennis skills.

This year meant more, as Tiafoe announced the creation of the Frances Tiafoe Fund, which aims to offer free or low-cost tennis and educational programs to underprivileged youth who may not be able to afford the sport. Tiafoe announced in front of numerous family, friends, and children eager to play tennis.

“It’s about being in a position to [help] people win, people who look like me win,” said Tiafoe, the son of African immigrants from Sierra Leone. “To help people be able to go to college, that’s a win. Those are the things we’re passionate about.”

via ESPN’s Andscape

Tiafoe’s passion for the center where he grew up is genuine. It was at this very place, less than 30 yards away from the training room he spent much of his childhood in, that he announced the launch of his fund with the support of the USTA Foundation.

“I know, coming back to this place, that even when I face my toughest moments I’ve come so far,” Tiafoe said. “That’s why I come here a lot. I know that nobody that I’m competing against had my come up.”

via ESPN’s Andscape

Frances Tiafoe’s early connection with tennis was closely tied to the Junior Tennis Champions Center, where his father, Constant Tiafoe, served as the head custodian.

As a child, Frances and his twin brother, Franklin, slept on massage tables in the training room while their father worked tirelessly.

As a child, Frances Tiafoe spent time at the Junior Tennis Champions Center where his father worked. At six years old, he would watch top players and coaches, mimicking their moves with his racket. Despite facing challenges like using outdated equipment and wearing hand-me-down clothes, his time at the center played a crucial role in shaping his future in tennis.

“We came from nothing, just like a lot of these kids today that don’t have the opportunity to come to facilities like this,” said Constant Tiafoe after last week’s announcement. “So if we can generate some money for them to have access to all that’s happening here, the kids can have an opportunity to reach their goals.”

via ESPN’s Andscape

Tiafoe’s decision to launch his foundation was fittingly made before participating in the Mubadala Citi DC Open, a longstanding tour event in Washington since 1969.

Tennis icon Arthur Ashe played a role in creating this event, emphasizing its location in the heart of Washington to encourage more Black faces to come out and watch tennis.

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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