Carlos Alcaraz does his best Ivan Drago impression ahead of Frances Tiafoe match

There is no question Alcaraz is focused on defeating Tiafoe and his recent comments prove that.
Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon 2024
Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon 2024 / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Carlos Alcaraz and Frances Tiafoe are friends off the court. This makes sense to tennis fans, most likely, as both players are quick to smile and appear to enjoy life away from the courts. On the court, both bring a level of showmanship that fans love. Alcaraz is the more accomplished player - and, well...the better one - but both are fan favorites.

Still, even if players are best friends away from the sport, such as Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa, once they have to face each other at a tournament, the player on the opposite side of the net is no different than anyone else. While Alcaraz might only be 21 years old, he has been highly successful at his sport for long enough to know how to control his emotions.

On Friday, Alcaraz and Tiafoe will play one another in the third round at Wimbledon. The Spaniard is ranked No. 3 (No. 4 in the live rankings, but only because his points from winning the grass-court major fell off before the event began this year) while the American has tumbled out of the top 10 after being in poor form for most of 2024.

Carlos Alcaraz and Frances Tiafoe should be must-watch tennis

In other words, the third-round match should be a relatively easy one for Alcaraz as long as he doesn't try to match Tiafoe's showy shots in order to make the crowd happy. The American defeats himself many times by overhitting the ball. The Spnaird can do that as well but seems to find some ridiculous shot-making in the biggest moments of matches.

Speaking with the press this week ahead of his matchup with Tiafoe, Alcaraz said the right words, but he also sounded a bit like Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. Alcaraz likes the American, but he must break him on the court.

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

While the outcome of Alcaraz versus Tiafoe is probably not in doubt, the match still should be a must-watch for tennis fans. There will certainly be excellent and low-percentage shots made and the play should be highly entertaining. The American should be making plans already for what he wants to do next week, though, because he probably won't still be participating at Wimbledon.

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