Francis Tiafoe has become the third African-American man to reach the top 10 in the world rankings, joining Arthur Ashe and James Blake, after the 25-year-old claimed the third title of his career in Stuttgart on Sunday.

The US Open semi-finalist escaped a championship point in a third-set tiebreak to cruise to a thrilling 4-6 7-6(1) 7-6(8) victory over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff to claim his first title on grass before the match. next. Grand Slam month at Wimbledon.

Born to immigrant parents who eventually settled in the United States after fleeing Sierra Leone’s civil war in the 1990s, Tiafoe said reaching the No. 10 ranking in his career is something he will never forget.

“Very emotional. With my story and all, said Tiafoe, who was exposed to the sport when his father worked as a bouncer at a tennis center in Maryland.

“I’m a man who really shouldn’t be here to do half the things he does.

“And now when you say his name, you can say he’s a top 10 player in the world. So (that’s) something no one can take away from you and I’ll remember that forever. And I hope I can ride that for a long time.”

Tiafoe’s achievement means he and eight-ranked Taylor Fritz are the first American pair to be in the top 10 since Mardy Fish and John Isner in May 2012.

He has also won titles on every surface after winning the Houston clay title earlier in the year to add to his 2018 victory on hard courts in Delray Beach.

“It shows I’m a complete player. When I’m locked in, I can play on every surface,” Tiafoe said.


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