Jack Sock and Francis Tiafoe are relishing their roles as pantomime villains in Friday night’s “Outstanding” doubles showdown with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slam championships, is teaming up with arch-rival Nadal at the Laver Cup, the Swiss’s grand finale of his 24-year career.
But Sock, now more of a doubles specialist, and Tiafoe represent a serious challenge for the elite European team.
Team World, led by John McEnroe, are still looking for their first win in the fifth edition of the event and Sock said: “I think we have a great chance.
“Of course, tomorrow night will be more than just a fun, double match of the night. I was glad to be a part of it with the enemy next to me.
“We’ll go out and have fun this time, but we won’t catch anything. Sorry Roger, don’t want to ruin the night.”
He said: “I’m really looking forward to playing doubles tomorrow! It should be good.
“No, it will be typical to be a part of it. Both men are absolute legends, and it was obviously Roger’s last dance.
Again, as Jack said, we’re definitely trying to win.
“I love the Laver Cup,” said Tiafoe, who rose to the top singles world No. 19 following his success in New York with a big win over Nidal.
“I know what to expect and I think we have a great chance to win the European Cup this year.
“I proved that I can play with the best and win Grand Slams,” Tiafoe added.
“I always support myself against the best players in the world – I’m working consistently, I’m starting to beat guys with more preparation and I’m ready to take the next step,” Tiafoe said. “I feel like I can win any game.”
Francis Tiafoe will be one of the players to watch at the Laver Cup, and McEnroe feels there is no hot property in American men’s tennis.
“The Frenchman is trending in the right direction, he brings a lot of energy and he has great talent,” Team World captain McEnroe said earlier this week.
The World Team has never won the Laver Cup and will need a huge effort to get past a European team led by Big Four and Top 10 stars Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Read more: How to watch Roger Federer’s final match