“You may not know now, but later you’ll understand.”
Frances Tiafoe nicknamed (Big Foe), is an American tennis player whose unlikely rise makes him a player like no other in his era. Frances was born in Hyattsville, Maryland and is the son of Sierra Leonean immigrants. He was raised at the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) in Maryland where his father worked as the head of maintenance. After a long day on the job, his father spent his nights in a back room at the complex, with Frances and his twin brother, Franklin. More recently at the 2022 US Open, Frances defied odds by beating then world No. 2 Rafael Nadal en route to Nadal’s first loss [in a Grand Slam] to an American in 17 years. Frances captivated audiences across the world with his gutsy performances at Arthur Ashe Stadium where he became the first African American male to reach the Open’s semifinal since the stadium’s namesake did so 50 years earlier in 1972. He has embraced his position both as one of the few African American players on tour and as a role model to the next generation of young tennis players.
Do you have any rituals that you do before you compete?
- Listen to my playlist
- Always have same meal – either salmon and rice or chicken and rice
What is a hidden talent that you have?
I think my hidden talent would be me playing basketball. If I’m not on the tennis court, I’m on the basketball court.
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"Rackets Down, Hands up" Initiative that focused on spreading awareness about unwarranted fatalities of African Americans in the U.S. at the hands of law enforcement. This initiative led Frances to win the 2020 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.