Teen tennis star Francis Tiafoe credits dad for success

It is 8 o'clock on a Tuesday morning and Francis Tiafoe is in class like any other 16-year-old, but that is where the similarity ends. His day lasts a whole lot longer than that of the average kid next door, reports CBS News special correspondent James Brown.

"I have lunch for a half hour, and I'll do school again from 12:30 to 2:00," Tiafoe said. "Then I'll play tennis from 2:00 to 4:00, and then 4:00 to 6:00 I go to school again."

Francis spends nearly 12 hours a day here at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland, in a full-time development program geared to produce future American pros.

"Since I was like eight, I always wanted to be playing pro tennis," Tiafoe said.

As the second ranked junior in the world, Tiafoe is well on his way. Last year, at 15, he became the youngest champion in the history of the prestigious Orange Bowl tournament in Florida. Known as the "fifth grand slam" of junior tennis, some of tennis' all-time greats catapulted to stardom from there.

"Guys like Federer won it, Bjorn Borg, Andy Roddick. Being in a list of one of those names is a huge deal," Tiafoe said.

His drive to make it comes from his father, Francis Tiafoe Sr., an immigrant from Sierra Leone who served as the tennis center's janitor. He lived in a small storage room so that he could open and close the facility. The room is now an office.

Tiafoe Sr. worked 16-hour days for a decade and often would stay in the storage room with Tiafoe and his twin brother, Franklin. The boys slept on his bed while he was working, Tiafoe Sr. said.

In addition to playing on the courts, Tiafoe also swept them. He practically grew up at the center and that paid off. After a while, Francis developed as a player. Soon parents and coaches took notice.

"Parents came to me to say, 'Man listen, your son is actually playing good tennis right now,' but he was really discovered by Misha," Tiafoe Sr. said.

Misha Kouznetsov has coached Tiafoe since he was eight.

"At night when I was leaving to go home, I saw him practicing serves, and just being around the sport all the time without coaches, without his parents making him do anything like that," Kouznetsov said. "He just, everything came from him. He really wanted to play the game."

That hard work led the center to give Tiafoe a free scholarship in their academic and training development program -- a value of over $40,000 a year.

"It's quite expensive. So I'm very, very happy that I could come here for free," Tiafoe said.

The program has propelled Tiafoe to a world ranking and on to the radar of Patrick McEnroe -- the man in charge of development for the U.S. Tennis Association.

McEnroe said Tiafoe had potential to be one of the top male players in tennis.

"I will unequivocally say that he absolutely does, that Francis has the potential," he said.

Tiafoe said turning pro is not something he's thinking about right now but he's keeping an eye on his future while remembering his humble past. He also said he thinks about how different his life would have been if his father had not worked at the tennis center.

"Without him, wouldn't be here, wouldn't be where I'm at right now, wouldn't be traveling -- would be a normal kid doing normal stuff," Tiafoe said.

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