Currently ranked 81st in the world, he reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 Australian Open, but says his success has always felt “different.”
Tiafoe, 22, believes he had to work twice as hard to reach the elite level as one of the few black men to make the top 100.
“I’m sure not everyone wants me to succeed,” Tiafoe told CNN Sports’ Christina McFarlane, feeling the love from the majority of her fans.
“I feel like I inherited something from someone who might have liked it.
“At the end of the day, they don’t want us to be in power, so I definitely felt that. I think that’s really a problem.”
The American has urged other professional players to join him in tackling the issue of diversity and promised to continue fighting for equality while he still has the platform to do so.
He acknowledges the impact the Williams sisters have had on the game, but knows more needs to be done to address balance.
“Are we going to help everyone? Of course not, but I’m going to help as many people as possible. That’s my duty,” he said.
“I think if more people with weight and big platforms were to speak up, change would come and be more optimistic,” he said.
“Of course, we see everything that’s going on in America right now, and I think it’s a good idea to come together and speak out now.”
Martin Blackman, the National Tennis Association’s general manager of player development, told the Undefeated website that he wants more black men to enter the sport professionally through college tennis routes.
According to Blackman, the grassroots coaching issue plays a role in helping get more black kids to think about taking up tennis.
Protests against police brutality that began peacefully have intensified across the country this week, with demonstrators occasionally clashing with law enforcement.
Tiafoe says he understands people’s outrage, but calls on demonstrators to avoid violence and spread a message of justice.
“I love protests. I think it’s great, but at the same time, a great city that has been there over the years, it hurts me to see something like that,” Tiafoe said. called for an end to the looting.
“Personally, I don’t think that’s the answer. I don’t condone it, but at the same time I find it frustrating. It’s hand in hand.”
“We are all equal”
With the situation in the US showing no signs of easing any time soon, Tiafoe called for calm to find better solutions to the heartbreaking issues at the heart of the protests.
Currently in Florida, he said he wasn’t participating in the protest, but that things would have been different had he returned to his hometown of Washington, DC.
“We are all equal. No one is better than the one to my right or left. We all need to be united,” he said.
“Some people take their power a little too seriously, and that’s causing problems. We need to understand that everyone is just as important as everyone else. ”