Carlos Alcaraz sends a message to Frances Tiafoe ahead of Wimbledon showdown

Kevin Palmer
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates during his match at Wimbledon in 2024
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates during his match at Wimbledon in 2024

Carlos Alcaraz has spoken about his friendship with Frances Tiafoe, as he looked forward to a third round meeting with the American at Wimbledon.

Alcaraz’s defence of the Wimbledon title is on track after a shaky start in his match against Australian world No 69 Aleksandar Vukic after serving for the opening set.

Vukic, 28, had form for upsetting the Spaniard, having beaten the then 17-year-old in French Open qualifying four years ago.

Yet there was to be no repeat as Alcaraz managed to break back to force a tie-break, which he dominated and never looked back.

The 21-year-old went on to register a 7-6 (5) 6-2 6-2 victory, spending just an hour and 48 minutes on Court No.1.

Now Tiafoe lies in wait for Alcaraz, with the confident Spaniard telling reporters that the bond he has with his next opponent will affect his focus.

“I have a really good relationship with a lot of players behind the scenes, but once you step on the court, they’re not friends,” said Alcaraz.

“You have to be in your own, focus on yourself, and try to beat him. That’s how tennis works. That’s it.

“Frances, a great player, a great person as well. He always smiles. He always seems like he’s enjoying his time on the court, off the court as well. It’s pretty impressive.

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“He tries to put a show every time he steps on the court, as well. It’s going to be a really fun match to play, to watch. I’ll try to put my good weapons on the match and try to beat him.”

The contest will be a rematch of the Alcaraz vs Tiafoe semi-final at the 2022 US Open, but the Spaniard suggested that match will have little significance now.

“It’s totally different position,” he continued. “We were playing in United States, semi-final of the US Open, against an American guy.

“Frances, I’m going to say everybody loves him in the United States. Is kind of different feeling. It was a great match. I think we played really great points. I think that the crowd enjoyed that match.

“I’m pretty sure that the people are going to enjoy this match, as well. So let’s see.

“I remember that I played great tennis. I have match point in the fourth set. We played five sets at the end. It was a really close match, that hopefully not going to be this year the same.”

Alcaaz’s arm injury that affected his clay court season does not appear to be a problem now and with his body now giving him a chance to perform, he suggested the mental side of the game is crucial to success at the highest level

“Well, for me is everything. If you can stay positive, you can stay calm in the toughest situations that probably the match can reach you, you’re going to win. That’s it,” he added.

“It’s a battle against the opponent. If you can stay calmer than the other, than the opponent, you are going to be better.

“So in those situations, I try to be positive, to be calm, to think about I can keep my best shots in this moment.

“Obviously that help a lot when you’re feeling great off the court. At least for me, when I’m feeling great, feeling calm off the court the previous days or the hours before the match, I’m going to perform better, I’m going to feel better on the court.”