JTCC in the News

Unlikely prodigy Francis Tiafoe hyped as U.S. tennis’ next great success

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.

Francis Tiafoe: Top-ranked junior tennis player grew up on the courts

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.

An Improbable Tennis Prodigy

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.

Teen star Francis Tiafoe takes title, makes Orange Bowl Tennis Championships history

By:  Bill Van Smith
Story published in Miami Herald on December 16, 2013

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.

How I…Find Tennis Champions

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. 

First Person: Vesa Ponkka

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. 

Advantage, Home

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.”

Frank maintains focus, rebounds from injury

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.

Greenbelt Teenager Stands Atop Junior Tennis Rankings

By: Kelyn Soong
Story published by Capital News Services on January 23, 2013

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.

In Praise of the Unseen American

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.

JTCC ‘One of the Best’

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.”

Net Gain:  JTCC Aims to Make Stars Out of Young Players

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.”

UVa’s Mitchell Frank relishing in pressure as NCAA’s No. 1 Player

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.

Vesa Ponkka earns USOC 2011 Developmental Coach of Year Award



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