Tennis Prose



Tiafoe Wins Houston After Benefactor Brody Passes

Frances Tiafoe won his second career ATP title yesterday at US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston but there’s a lot more to the story than just the final win vs. Tomas Martin Echeverry 76 76.

On March 26 a very important figure in Tiafoe’s life passed away. Ken Brody was the man who funded the creation of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in Maryland where Tiafoe got his start in tennis. JTCC was built in 1999 next to the University of Maryland where Brody graduated in 1964 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Brody than attended Harvard Business School and later worked for Goldman Sachs for two decades as a partner and member of the management committee. Brody co-founded Taconic Capital in 1999 which expanded into an $8 billion hedge fund by 2013.

A self described tennis nut, Brody was determined to create a on-profit, world class tennis program for kids of all economic backgrounds. Brody hired Constant Tiafoe, father of Frances and Franklin Tiafoe, to run the building management services after seeing him work on the construction site of JTCC. While Constant Tiafoe worked on maintenance and janitorial duties, Frances trained every day on the court and today he’s ranked 14 in the world and the new champion of Houston.

It’s probably just a coincidence that Tiafoe just won an ATP title a couple of weeks after the greatest benefactor of his tennis career, Ken Brody, died at age 79.

Houston was Tiafoe’s first tournament after Brody’s passing.

(Note: Tiafoe didn’t mention Brody after winning Houston, according to the ATP web site article report on the final.)

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  • catherine · April 12, 2023 at 9:41 am

    Off topic but I just had to put this somewhere.

    The International Tennis Hof is celebrating 50 years of the WTA tour (current sponsor Hologic of course had nothing to do with it but who mentions Virginia Slims these days ?)

    Nice mural showing notable players of the past which is fine but I’ve only got one question:

    What on earth is Mrs Thatcher doing there ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 12, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    Catherine, don’t even know if Virginia Slims is still an active company. Did they really prosper by investing in WTA?

  • catherine · April 12, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Virginia Slims was a Philip Morris brand and its marketing appeal was very much to the 70s Women’s Lib audience. Joe Cullman, Gladys Heldman and the Philip Morris marketing machine essentially created and promoted the women’s circuit although the cigarette connection was played down as time went on. (they were awful cigarettes BTW).

    I’ve no idea if VS still exists as a brand. And I doubt PMorris made much money but that wasn’t the point. Women’s tennis fitted into the corporate plan and VS underpinned the nascent tour.

    I still don’t know why Mrs Thatcher’s portrait is there. She disliked sport and didn’t smoke.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 12, 2023 at 8:32 pm

    Margaret Thatcher belongs in that collage as much as the bride of frankenstein, curious decision by wta. On a different note, a pro tennis source informed me today that the fairy tale marriage of the two elite tennis legends may be on the rocks.

  • catherine · April 13, 2023 at 10:31 am

    The WTA has confirmed that it will be returning to China to resume the tournament schedule which was suspended a couple of years ago re concerns over Peng.

    Statement on Twitter. Some behind the scenes chatter I’d imagine.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 13, 2023 at 7:22 pm

    WTA needs that Chinese money Catherine, it was a silly decision to cancel China in the first place over a lover’s squabble gone wrong. My interpretation was Peng tried to force the rich Chinese man to dump his wife and take her, but her scheme didn’t succeed.

  • catherine · April 15, 2023 at 5:33 am

    Here’s the China situation fairly well summarised:

    As you say, it’s all about the money.

    I saw Saudi Arabia is now moving into taking over cricket (!!!) so in a few years two or three rich countries will be running all main sports. Including pickleball ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 15, 2023 at 7:37 am

    Catherine, Saudi Arabia now runs that LIV golf competitor of PGA and more and more major boxing matches are being staged and funded by Saudi Arabia. At this rate they may snatch away a Grand Slam?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 15, 2023 at 7:42 am

    That article showed the wrong Shuai photo, Zhang not Peng, that’s a bad error. WTA really needs China. Interesting the tennis establishment is so concerned about the safety of female Chinese players but not at all about the safety of male and female Russian players, considering all the media villainizing of Russians. Hypocrisy in any form is awful.

  • catherine · April 15, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Meanwhile Chinese naval ships are edging closer and closer to Taiwan in an Eastern version of the Great Game.

    The WTA may come to regret selling its integrity to China. Tells me not a long queue of countries prepared to open their purses to fund this mismanaged sport. Not even Saudi.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 16, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    Catherine with China aggression in Taiwan being ignored while innocent Russian players are being targeted for punishment and condemnation, the hypocrisy couldn’t be much more blatant. The anti Russian racism against innocent players needs to stop.



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