By: Jon Wertheim
Story published in Sports Illustrated on May 23, 2014
It’s a glorified broom closet, really. Call it a small office, if you want to be charitable. But the 125-square-foot room in a corner of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., may one day end up on a register of tennis landmarks.
By: CBS News
Story aired on CBS This Morning on May 23, 2014
The son of Sierra Leone immigrants is poised to become the next American tennis star. CBS News special correspondent James Brown shares the story of Francis Tiafoe and how he started his journey on the tennis courts with a broom.
By: Liz Clarke
Story published in The Washington Post on May 17, 2014
Francis Tiafoe grew up at College Park’s Junior Tennis Champions Center, where his immigrant dad was the maintenance man. Now the 16-year-old is the country’s best junior boy.
First, Francis Tiafoe slammed an ace right down the center line.
Then, he slammed his racket — in joy.
The first slam gave Tiafoe the boys’ 18 title Sunday in the Metropolia Orange Bowl Tennis Championships at Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation.
By: Kelsey Koenen
Story published in Washington Business Journal on October 7, 2013
It’s been almost six decades since Ray Benton started playing tennis. Now he’s CEO of the Junior Tennis Champions Center — rated the No. 1 training center in the country by the U.S. Tennis Association and the place that’s spawned, by its own count, 17 national champs or No. 1 tennis players in the past five years alone.
By: Vesa Ponkka
Story published in Washington Post on August 20, 2013
The best part of this game is that it is an individual sport. You take the blame; you keep the glory. Nobody can help you out. You are so alone when you get out there it’s not even funny.
By: Trevor Pryce
Story published in New York Times on May 23, 2012
“It could be argued that Francis is the luckiest kid in the world,” Ray Benton, the tennis center’s chief executive, said. “It was pure serendipity. He didn’t pick tennis; tennis picked him.”
By: Kerry Mitchell
Story published on CavalierDaily.com on Tuesday, April 2, 2013
In July, Frank was training back in College Park, Md. He had just finished an exercise on a mat and was rolling over to stand up when, in a bizarre twist of fate, Frank’s foot caught on the mat and his left knee twisted, tearing the meniscus in the process.
Football was Evan Zhu’s first obsession…But his parents feared the contact sport would be too dangerous for their son. They introduced him to tennis at age 8, which their daughter, Amy, had just started playing.
By: Tom Perrotta
Story published by Wall Street Journal on June 27, 2013
Denis Kudla deserves your attention. And admiration. He has more than earned it.
So far this year, Kudla, a 20-year-old born in Kiev, Ukraine who grew up in Arlington, Va., has improved his ATP World Tour ranking from No. 137 at the end of last season to inside the Top 90 after Wimbledon.
By: Benjamin Snyder
Story published by The Baltimore Sun on July 20, 2011
While by definition it’s a regional training center, Patrick McEnroe, general manager of player development for the United States Tennis Association, calls it “national in its own scope” and says it’s “one of the biggest and one of the best.”
By: Tom Shroder
Story published by The Washington Post on August 16, 2009
This is where it begins: A daisy chain of children standing on the wide blue stage of an indoor tennis court contemplating a staggered line of orange cones. “Okay,” Frank Salazar is saying, “I want you to run forward to the first cone, then backward to the second, then forward to the third, like this.”
By: Greg Rosenstein
Story published online at SI.com on April 4, 2012
That sound of a hard-hit ball meeting plastic is the only noise heard at the voluminous Boars Head Sports Club. University of Virginia freshman Mitchell Frank, working on the accuracy of his serve for the final 20 minutes of practice, rarely misses his desired target.