Frances Tiafoe - US Open 2023

Frances Tiafoe claims he has been ‘losing to clowns’ this year

Frances Tiafoe has fought back to progress to the second round of Wimbledon, but the American has come under scrutiny after labelling some of his fellow players as ‘clowns’.

Tiafoe came from two-sets-to-love down to beat Italian Matteo Arnaldi, 6(5)-7 2-6 6-1 6-3 6-3, in the first round at The Championships.

At Wimbledon last year Tiafoe was the 10th seed, but has struggled for form in 2024 after winning only 50% of his matches.

This has included defeats to lower ranked players such as Juncheng Shang, Christopher O’Connell and Pedro Cachin, with Tiafoe now ranked at No.29.

And when speaking to press, Tiafoe made a ‘brutal’ admission about some of the people that he has lost to, “It’s brutal. Highs and lows. Think about where I’m at.

“Literally this week last year I was 10 in the world and now I’m barely seeded here (at Wimbledon). Losing to clowns, I hate to say it but I’m just gonna be honest.”

The 26-year-old added, “I took the game for granted and got a little too comfortable. You stop having fun with it and you find yourself in a weird position. Then you kind of forget what you were doing to win?”

Despite his recent struggles, Tiafoe appears to be taking perspective on things after a difficult few months, “You start doubting yourself and all these kinds of things. But it’s the game. It’s like anything, nothing is peaches and cream all the time. It’s about how fast you can kind of get out of that.

“And there is always light at the end of the tunnel, whether you either try and find it with small wins or continue to feel sorry for yourself and continue to play victim, that’s where it just gets darker and darker and darker.”

Tiafoe will continue his Wimbledon campaign on Wednesday against former world No.12 Borna Coric.

Inside the baseline…

While Frances Tiafoe has had a tough year and has faced some surprising defeats to lower ranked players, it was not the best way to go about it and to describe your peers as ‘clowns’ is just disrespectful. In terms of the tennis, many were expecting Tiafoe to suffer another early defeat against the talented Matteo Arnaldi, even more so when he was two-sets-to-love down, but the American did battle well and has put himself into the next round.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.