In an athletics narrative as remarkable and promising as that of Venus and Serena Williams, Francis Tiafoe, the son of West African immigrants, has become one of the most prominent rising tennis players. In December, at 15, Tiafoe, of Prince George’s County, became the youngest player ever to win the Orange Bowl, the most prestigious international title for boys under 18.
Francis Tiafoe, 16, rests between exercise sets at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., on May 9, 2014. Like his twin brother, Franklin, Francis cannot remember the first time he picked up a tennis racket. The twins were practically raised with rackets in their hands at the JTCC, where their father worked and the three sometimes lived since the boys were toddlers. Francis, the more introverted of the twins, has risen to be the No. 2-ranked boy in the ITF World Junior Rankings and is seeded No. 1 in the upcoming French Open Junior Championship. Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post