Frances Tiafoe has given an insight into his off-court relationship with Novak Djokovic as he defended the world No 7 from a “bad rap”. The American suffered a straight-set defeat to the world No 7 at the Laver Cup on Saturday but didn’t have a bad word to say about his opponent.
Djokovic played his first match in more than two months against Tiafoe at the Laver Cup, earning Team Europe two vital points thanks to his 6-1 6-3 victory. The 21-time Grand Slam champion looked as solid as ever while competing for the first time since winning a seventh Wimbledon crown in July.
After the match, Tiafoe was asked what the 35-year-old was like off the court, as the world No 19 assessed Djokovic’s performance in his first match since Wimbledon and claimed that his opponent was even “better” than he was at the All England Club. “I mean, I know Novak is a super cool dude,” he said, turning his attention to the Serb’s off-court traits.
“I like the guy a lot. We clown all the time. He’s actually very funny.” The recent US Open semi-finalist said that he and Djokovic shared a similar sense of humour, continuing: “Yeah, like because obviously I have a great sense of humor and say things off the cuff. He likes it as well. Super nice guy.”
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But the Team World player did make a dig at the Serb as he joked: “Wish he wasn’t so locked in today, but other than that — I probably like him a little less right now, but other than that, he’s very cool.”
Tiafoe was still gracious in defeat, adding: “Yeah, you just tip your hat off to a guy like that, playing that well. No excuses on my side. He was just too good. Couple of things I could do a little better, but we saw greatness again today.”