Frances Tiafoe eager to pave the way for black tennis stars

Rising tennis star Frances Tiafoe hopes that "a lot of people who look like" him will be playing tennis in the future.

The African-American is emerging as one of tennis' brightest young stars after experiencing some of the biggest moments in his budding tennis career in the last few weeks. However, Tiafoe remains grounded.

While they weren't the first athletes to put black tennis players on the map, Venus and Serena Williams were arguably the most influential. Just ask Tiafoe…

"Serena means the world to me and many other people," said the 24-year-old, as per atptour.com.

"A true icon, her and her sister. She's definitely the reason why I believed that I can do this in the tennis world.

"Being an African-American, I want to have that respect that Serena had. When I finish my career, if a lot of people who look like me are playing the game of tennis, then I'll feel like I definitely won. That's definitely my main goal."

Tiafoe has been enjoying much attention of late following his on-court exploits. The right-hander knocked out tennis legend Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16 at the US Open, then went on to reach his first grand slam semifinal.

The Maryland native then followed that up with two epic victories at the Laver Cup, where he defeated Nadal and Roger Federer in a doubles match before winning a championship-deciding clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas, handing Team World the title.

"It's been a crazy month," admitted Tiafoe, who is seeded fourth in this week's Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

"I've been getting a lot of attention as of late. I'm just trying to keep the main thing the main thing. I'm super curious to see where I can take this tennis thing. I've got a lot to give to the game. I think me doing well is great for the sport.

"As far as the noise, obviously it comes with it. People are cheering you one day and the next you can be forgotten. That's how individual sports go."

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