MaliVai Washington began playing tennis at the young age of five after being introduced to the sport by his father. He played his first tournament at seven and won his first title at eight.
MaliVai attended the University of Michigan where he became a two-time All American and finished his sophomore year ranked as the NCAA #1 player in the nation. In 1989 at the age of 20 MaliVai decided to forego his final two years at Michigan to become a professional. He was named the ATP Rookie of the Year in 1990.
Over a career that spanned 10 years, he won 4 career titles while reaching a total of 13 finals. He reached a career high of #11 in the world in singles in 1992, 1993 and 1996. MaliVai had career singles wins over Andre Agassi (2), John McEnroe (1), Boris Becker (1), Stefan Edberg (1), Jimmy Connors (4) Michael Chang (1), and Gustavo Kuertan (1) to name a few.
In 1996, he reached the Wimbledon Championships final, becoming the first African American man to reach a grand slam singles final since tennis great Arthur Ashe won Wimbledon in 1975. The two remain the only African American men to achieve this feat.
MaliVai was a member of the 1996 United States Olympic Team and United States Davis Cup Teams in 1993, 1996 and 1997.He suffered a knee injury during his final Davis Cup appearance against Gustavo Kuerten in Brazil in February 1997. Following two knee surgeries, MaliVai retired in November 1999.
In 1994, MaliVai created the MaliVai Washington Private Foundation to introduce tennis to youth. The foundation became a public charity in 1999 and has since expanded to include afterschool programs that use tennis as a platform to get youth to focus more on education, positive behavior, life skills and success.
MaliVai is the owner/broker for Washington Properties LLC, a licensed real estate brokerage and investment company. In 2010, MaliVai graduated from the University of North Florida, with a Bachelor Degree in Finance. He resides in Ponte Vedra, Florida with his wife, Jennifer and their two children. MaliVai is a lifetime fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Awards & Honors
- 2011: Leadership Jacksonville Celebration Honoree
- 2009: ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award
- 2009: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Citizen of the Year Award
- 2007: OneJax Young Professional Service Award
- 2007: Realtor Magazine’s 2007 Good Neighbor Award.
- 2006: Jacksonville Business Journal 40 Under40 Award
- 2006: Take Stock in Children InauguralPartner of the Year
- 2006: ONYX Magazine Humanitarian AwardFinalist
- 2006: First Coast News 12 Who Care
- 2006: Governor’s Points of Light Award
- 2004: Bank of America’s Local Hero Award
- 2001: Otis Smith Civic Award (Florida SportsAwards)
- 1999: Boys & Girls Club Man and Youth Award