Frances Tiafoe, who dazzled crowds with his breakthrough performance in reaching the semifinals of the 2022 U.S. Open, is one of the many great players who have played in the Vero Beach USTA Pro Circuit event, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships.
In 2014, Tiafoe competed in Vero Beach at The Boulevard in his first year of playing professional tournaments while still a junior tennis player. At the age of 16, playing in only his fourth pro level tournament and ranked No. 1296 on the ATP Rankings, Tiafoe reached the second round in Vero Beach, losing to former University of Florida standout Greg Ouellette. The 2014 edition of the tournament also featured American stars Tommy Paul, who earned his first career ATP ranking point in Vero Beach, and Reilly Opelka, both of whom played in the qualifying rounds of the tournament.
Tiafoe’s first career match at a pro tournament, interesting enough, was earlier in 2014 at a USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Florida where he lost 6-0, 6-0 in the first round to Sekou Bangoura, the 2022 singles champion in Vero Beach.
Read of Frances (who was mistakenly had his name spelled “Francis” in draws and news reports) from 2014 in Vero Beach here http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/10487 and from the Washington Post here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/sports/wp/2014/05/17/an-improbable-tennis-prodigy/
Tiafoe staged one of the greatest wins by an American man at the U.S. Open in the last 20 years when he defeated 22-time major winner Rafael Nadal in the fourth round on Labor Day Monday. He followed up the victory with a win over Andrey Rublev of Russia before falling in a dramatic and entertaining semifinal to eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz.
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