Frances Tiafoe won his third career title in Stuttgart on Sunday, Gaining a 4-6 7-6(1) 7-6(8) victory against Jan-Lennard Struff, bringing him into the men’s top 10 list and making him the third Black American to be there, after Arthur Ashe and James Blake.
Tiafoe’s journey to this mantle has not been a smooth one.
His father, Constant Tiafoe, had to worked at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in Washington around the clock, while his mother would stay with him and his twin brother someday all while sleeping on a makeshift massage table, and working night shifts as a nurse.
This upbringing, though tight, provided the young Tiafoe with a ticket into the athletic world of tennis, from where he took his opportunity and began training. He got to his first major quarter-final at the Australian Open in 2019 before riding his success to the US Open Semifinals in 2022.
After finally beating his opponent at the latest game to get to the record list, he celebrated and fell to the floor in shock. He said he was “super emotional” and that:
“I’m a guy who shouldn’t even really be here doing half the things he’s doing. And how when you say his name, you can say he’s top 10 in the world. So [that is] something that no one can take from you and I’m going to remember that forever. Hopefully, I can ride that for a long time.”