We already knew Frances Tiafoe was a good tennis player. A person cannot get to being ranked 10th on the ATP tour if they do not have an abundance of skills. But we know a few other things about Frances Tiafoe as well.
We know that he plays with uncommon joy on the court. He wants to win, sure, but he also seems to appreciate simply having the opportunity to compete at the level he does. And his smile is without smirk; He is the genuine deal and his smile mirrors a happiness of the kind we should all be so lucky to have.
But Tiafoe is also much more than a tennis player. Many know his story already about how his family found their way to the United States a few years before Frances was born as they were escaping a civil war in Sierra Leone. His father got a job helping build the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland and was hired as a janitor there after the complex was built.
Frances Tiafoe starts a fund to help young tennis players
His father was also given a room to live in and five days a week, Frances and his brother would live there, too. This is where he learned how to play tennis and caught the eye of a coach. Later, Frances moved to the USTA National Training Center at age 15 and began to develop into the player we know today.
This week, Tiafoe announced he is giving back. Understanding that money plays a big part in whether a young player can continue to follow their dream of playing professional tennis one day, he started the Frances Tiafoe Fund. This program will work in collaboration with the USTA (United States Tennis Association) and provide funding for about 130,000 students in the nearly 300 National Junior Tennis and Learning chapters across the U.S.
According to the USTA website, Tiafoe said
"I’m so excited for this opportunity to work with the USTA Foundation and inspire kids who come from my hometown and beyond. One of my priorities has always been to show kids that dreams can come true and that success is in everyone–and this fund is just one step further toward that goal."
Many of the brands that work with Tiafoe have also said they would give to the fund. This includes Nike and Yonex.