Does Frances Tiafoe have a future on the ice? After a recent visit to the Washington Capitals' practice facility, we think he'll be sticking to hard courts.

Tiafoe, famous for his fandom of D.C.'s sports teams, was a guest of the NHL club on Tuesday, where he had a rinkside seat to watch the 2018 Stanley Cup champions train on the eve of their next game against Jessica Pegula's hometown Buffalo Sabres.

After practice, Tiafoe joined the team on the ice, where he was greeted by Alex Ovechkin and was introducted by Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery to the rest of the team as their "hometown man."

"A huge proponent of Washington sports–the Capitals, the Wizards, the whole deal. It’s awesome,” he added.


But soon, it was time for some fun: Tiafoe tried out some stick-handling (spoiler: it did not go well) and played tennis games with many of the Capitals players using a mini-net and racquets.

"You can actually play a little bit! I like your shot. OK! You actually know what you’re doing," Tiafoe told right winger Tom Wilson, who replied that his mother was an avid tennis player and showed him how to hold a racquet as a child.

Later, Tiafoe served goalkeeper Charlie Lindgren tennis balls at the other side of the rink, as the Minnesotan tried to catch them with his goalie glove; rallied with Trevor van Riemsdyk and Wilson; and took aim at Rasmus Sandin, who tried to return his serve on skates.

Afterwards, in the locker room, Tiafoe traded gear with Ovechkin and Wilson, giving them signed racquets as he received a signed jersey and stick.


By the time the day ended, Tiafoe's good nature and geniality had made a lasting impression on Carbery.

“I obviously know who he is and I’ve followed his career but then as a staff yesterday we watched PBS [Newshour] did a special, and it was fascinating because that sort of gives the background story to him being from the DMW area and how he was brought up and how this community ... means so much to him and who he is as a tennis player," he said.

“Just from being around him for five minutes he’s so down to earth. You can see why he’s been so successful.”