Netflix Break Point

Game-Changer Tiafoe’s ‘Scary’ Tennis Dreams

Break Point star sets sky-high standards, reaches for the stars
February 22, 2023
Frances Tiafoe reached his first Grand Slam semi-final on home soil at the 2022 US Open. By ATP Staff

Frances Tiafoe was a natural fit for Netflix’s Break Point. Both the man and the docuseries share two major goals: entertain tennis fans and attract new fans to the sport.

Tiafoe is especially excited to see more diversity among tennis spectators.

“It’s cool to see more people of colour in the stands watching and becoming tennis fans,” he told the ATP Tour in a recent interview. “They don’t even know how to keep score but they're just so into it because I’m playing. 

“That’s cool... you're changing the game. That’s what I want, non-tennis fans to watch the game because Frances Tiafoe’s playing, to show young kids anything is possible.”

The 25-year-old hit his first tennis balls as a young kid, famously playing at the Maryland tennis club where his father — who helped build the facility — worked as a janitor.

“I was about three years old when I started playing tennis. Three, four years old,” he said. “Both my parents being very hard workers, very dedicated, very passionate… that kind of instilled a certain drive in me to pursue the game of tennis once that opportunity was given.

“From a young age I knew this is what I really wanted to do, and it’s scary... but you’ve got to dream big. My parents always told me your dreams have got to be so big you’re afraid of them.”

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Tiafoe’s rise to his career-high No. 15 Pepperstone ATP Ranking has included a run to the 2022 US Open semi-finals and a title triumph with Team United States at the inaugural United Cup in January. Such heady moments are a reward for his drive to push through the difficult times.

In his toughest moments, Tiafoe centres himself with a very simple question: “What I always go back to is, 'Well, what would be the alternative?' 

“You’ve got to go through some type of adversity to do anything successful.”

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