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Maryland tennis star Francis Tiafoe becomes third Black American to enter men's top 10

Maryland Tennis star Francis Tiafoe, third Black American to enter men's top 10
Maryland Tennis star Francis Tiafoe, third Black American to enter men's top 10 01:54

BALTIMORE -- A tennis player from Maryland has carved a niche for himself among the elite in the international tennis circuit. 

Frances Tiafoe started his tennis journey at the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) in College Park, Maryland. His recent victory in Germany marked his third win of the year, placing him in the Top 10 worldwide.  

Tiafoe is now the third African American to break into the Men's Top 10, a feat that inspires younger aspirants at the JTCC. 

Stiles Brockett, a rising star at JTCC, shared his excitement, "It's unbelievable for the sport in general and also special to me as well. It's like I hope to be there one day with him."

Even amidst his global tour, Tiafoe still finds time to train at the JTCC, providing younger players a first-hand glimpse into the dedication required to become one of the best in the world. 

"Just seeing how he's grown even in the time that I've known him is unbelievable. Him being kind of a mentor for me and helping me with all of my training and stuff gives me a lot of inspiration to see how far I can take the sport myself," Brockett said.

Tiafoe's coach, Komi Oliver Akli, said their ambitions go beyond just rankings. 

"Top 10 is just a number. If you don't win any Grand Slams, no one is going to be like okay Tiafoe is Top 10. Nobody is going to remember that number," Akli said.

The spotlight now shifts to the Citi Open slated to be held in Washington DC at the end of July. 

"We're trying to win the Citi Open to bring the whole JTCC, the whole nation, the whole DMV to the top,"  Akli said.

A victory would not only be a personal achievement for Tiafoe, but also a significant accolade for the JTCC and the wider tennis community.

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