Tennis News: Frances Tiafoe, Carlos Alcaraz and Jesper de Jong

  • Tiafoe gets peeved at chair umpire
  • Alcaraz forgets himself versus chair umpire
Frances Tiafoe suffers brutal loss at French Open
Frances Tiafoe suffers brutal loss at French Open / Daniel Kopatsch/GettyImages

Frances Tiafoe has had a rough year. He is only 12-12, and except for a decent run at the Houston Open when most of the top-ranked players were playing in Europe, Tiafoe has been bounced out of tournaments much earlier than he expected. The shame is that the player who is referred to as Big Foe is often one of the more positive players on the ATP tour.

But not this year. After reaching the top ten of the rankings in 2023, after Tiafoe's second-round loss at the French Open, he will likely fall outside the top 30. He also appears to have no idea how to improve his form, and he already changed coaches in late 2023 in the hopes that would help. It hasn't.

After falling to Denis Shapovalov in the second round, Tiafoe did something quite out of character. He went to the net and shook Shapovalov's hand, but he refused to shake the hand of the chair umpire. Normally, Tiafoe has a smile on his face whether he wins or loses, and he almost always plays with class. But not shaking the umpire's hand seemed, well...classless.

Frances Tiafoe loses his cool and Carlos Alcaraz forgets being a showman versus Jesper de Jong

There did not appear to be any reason for Tiafoe to avoid the umpire, either. Nothing in the four-set match, except for a time warning in the fourth set, would have appeared to have Tiafoe upset at the umpire. Maybe the American just forgot. Or maybe the frustration of a terrible year, for him anyway, is finally getting to him.

Carlos Alcaraz, on the other hand, might be learning a few things about himself. He was in the midst of playing inconsistently well in his second-round match against Jesper de Jong, which stretched into four sets when he realized he needed to stop being such a showman and just win points. One of the few criticisms of Alcaraz is that to get better, he sometimes needs just to play points and hit an easier shot instead of a flashier one.

In his post-match press conference, Alcaraz said, "(In) the third set, I thought I have to forget about putting on a show and try to give myself a chance to be in the rally five or six or seven balls every point. It was difficult for me to do it. I was in trouble a bit."

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Still, Alcaraz cannot seem to quit completely worrying about being entertaining as well as a great tennis player. He added, "Obviously, I think during the whole match, we both put on a great show. Drop shots and volleys. I think he did it better than me."

Alcaraz is now through to the fourth round after defeating American Sebastian Korda in the third round on Friday.

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