Youngest Player Leads Race For “ATP Star of Tomorrow” Award
Eighteen-year-old Frances Tiafoe achieved a career-high #100 ATP world ranking and put himself in prime position to claim the “ATP Star of Tomorrow” award by winning his second ATP Tour Challenger title at the Stockton $100,000 Challenger in Stockton, CA on Sunday.
Tiafoe hopes to follow 2015 “ATP Star of Tomorrow” German Alexander Zverev, current world #21, and other past illustrious winners Marat Safin, Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal.
The youngest player in the year-end top 100 will receive the annual “Star of Tomorrow” honor during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next month.
The JTCC alumnus is currently #94 in the ATP Singles Race, based on points earned in 2016. This list only takes into account tournaments played during 2016 and will match exactly with the year-end ATP rankings. Tiafoe is well-placed to maintain his top 100 status and win the “Star of Tomorrow” accolade.
Tiafoe’s nearest challengers are Stefan Kozlov (USA) and Duckhee Lee (KOR), who are ranked #156 and #157, respectively.
Tiafoe’s destiny is in his own hands with two more tournaments remaining on his 2016 calendar. He is the #1 seed at the Fairfield, CA Challenger, where he reached the semifinals in 2015, and he plays in next week’s Las Vegas Open.
Following on the heels of his first ATP Challenger championship in Granby, Canada, # 3 seed Tiafoe, defeated fellow American Noah Rubin, 6-4, 6-2 in the Stockton, CA final on Sunday. In addition, Tiafoe has reached three ATP Challenger Finals in Tallahassee, FL, Winnetka, IL and Lexington, KY in 2016.
The Hyattsville, MD native who began playing tennis at age four at JTCC, won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA in March by beating longtime junior rival Taylor Fritz 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. He also came within two points of causing a major upset at the US Open where he pushed the #1 American and #20 seed John Isner to five sets in the opening round before succumbing 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3).
“Frances has shown throughout 2016 that he is going to be a force on the ATP Tour for many years to come,” said Frank Salazar, JTCC Senior Director of High Performance, who coached Tiafoe throughout his junior career. “Breaking into the top 100 is a significant achievement, and he will be aiming to continue his upward progress during the rest of the year.”