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Big Foe stirs controversy after comeback victory at Wimbledon

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Bren Gray

Frances “Big Foe” Tiafoe has come back from two sets down for the first time in his career, defeating Matteo Arnaldi in the opening round of Wimbledon on Monday.

The American’s sudden death experience in UTS–he defeated Ben “The Mountain” Shelton 3-2 in Los Angeles last year–proved the difference, as Tiafoe powered back to win 6-7(5), 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.

Following the victory, which saw Big Foe book his spot in the second round against Croat Borna Coric, the UTS star stirred some controversy.

In his post-match press conference, Tiafoe spoke candidly about his recent form and drop in rankings.

“Literally this week last year I was 10 in the world and now I’m barely seeded here,” Big Foe began.

“[I’ve been] losing to clowns, I hate to say it but I’m just gonna be honest.”

Tiafoe in hot water after clown comment

The comments have not been received well on social media, with critics condemning Big Foe’s words.

“Not sure calling some of your colleagues ‘clowns’ is a good idea, Frances…” said one X user, while another pointed out the irony of “a clown calling another tennis player a clown”.

Big Foe has always been an outspoken voice on the ATP Tour–that’s why he was shoulder-tapped to be a part of UTS. 

The revolutionary format seeks to present a more authentic insight into players, rather than the sanitised version required by professional tennis. It seems Tiafoe isn’t bothered about fitting the mold regardless of where he’s playing.

He went on to explain some of his mental health struggles in recent months.

“I took the game for granted and got a little too comfortable,” Tiafoe explained. “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.”

“It’s brutal. Highs and lows. Think about where I’m at.”

Big Foe will next play UTS in Frankfurt, with the European event held from October 17-20 at the Suwag Energie Arena.

Before that, UTS will head to New York for its pre-US Open event on August 22-23.