Carlos Alcaraz is focused on Daniil Medvedev match despite allegations of spying on Novak Djokovic

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‘Never mind spy-gate, I’m focusing on the Octopus’: Accused Carlos Alcaraz is keeping his eyes on duel with Daniil Medvedev despite allegations he had been spying on Novak Djokovic

Just after 12.30pm on Thursday, Novak Djokovic appears for a hitting session at Aorangi Park closely followed by coach Goran Ivanisevic. Thirty or so feet above, about fifty accredited personnel chat away, with camera lenses clicking and various languages heard.

This vantage point is barely the Bridge of Spies. And though Daniel Craig is a regular at elite-level sporting occasions, no James Bond-level spying is on show at the All England Club this week. If there was, no rules would be broken and no advantage gained.

We are of course talking about a bizarre row that broke out this week and saw Carlos Alcaraz accused of ‘spying’ on Novak Djokovic, after a Spaniard – wrongly reported as Alcaraz’s father – was caught filming the 23-time Grand Slam winner, which sent the Serbian media into frenzy.

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‘The circumstances are such that we don’t have privacy in training, although sometimes I would like to,’ said Djokovic in response to the allegations. ‘I don’t think so,’ replied Alcaraz when asked if he could benefit from this. ‘I have a lot of videos from Djokovic on every platform.

‘I think it’s not an advantage for me.’ And Alcaraz is right. According to All England Club figures, 3,250 media persons are accredited for the tournament – and each of them can just stroll on to the viewing platform at Aorangi Park. 

Carlos Alcaraz (pictured) has rubbished allegations that he had been spying on Novak Djokovic

Carlos Alcaraz (pictured) has rubbished allegations that he had been spying on Novak Djokovic

Djokovic (pictured) has spoken on the allegations saying 'the circumstances are that we don't always have privacy'

Djokovic (pictured) has spoken on the allegations saying ‘the circumstances are that we don’t always have privacy’ 

But Alcaraz (pictured) admitted that it wouldn't have been an advantage for him anyway, having watched Djokovic play many times before

But Alcaraz (pictured) admitted that it wouldn’t have been an advantage for him anyway, having watched Djokovic play many times before 

The point here is that any row about tennis’ Spygate falls flat. Some on social media have compared it to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds coaches peering into Derby training sessions – but the difference is systems and formations in football can have a huge impact on matches.

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Even if Alcaraz was snooping on opponents, the Spaniard’s mole might have been better employed watching world No 3 Daniil Medvedev, the lanky Russian who he must overcome on Friday.

Fellow Muscovite Andrey Rublev gave Alcaraz a word of advice on Medvedev ahead of this tough-to-call semi-final. ‘I think Rublev told me a few times, he’s an octopus,’ said Alcaraz.

‘Daniil is really a complete player. He catches every ball, it is amazing. He’s an amazing athlete. He has a mix of everything. He does almost everything well.

‘Well, he’s really tall, you know. He’s playing great here on grass. But I am going to enjoy the semi-final. I’m playing great, and I have a lot of confidence right now. So it’s going to be a really good match I think. I’m going to enjoy it.’

That’s been a theme of Alcaraz’s campaign here. His smile has lit up Centre Court and the crowd have found great enjoyment in his shot-making, with a highlight being the time he poked a return in between the umpire’s chair, over the head of a ballboy and around the net.

After booking his place in the semi-finals, Alcaraz will come up against towering Daniil Medvedev (pictured) who has also been called the 'octopus'

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After booking his place in the semi-finals, Alcaraz will come up against towering Daniil Medvedev (pictured) who has also been called the ‘octopus’

Alcaraz (pictured) lauded his next opponent as 'a complete player' that has 'a mix of everything'

Alcaraz (pictured) lauded his next opponent as ‘a complete player’ that has ‘a mix of everything’

But 6ft 6in Medvedev cares little for exciting personalities across the court or who the fans want to win – just see his five-set win over ‘honorary Brit’ Christopher Eubanks in the last round.

This is the Russian’s best Wimbledon outing by far and Alcaraz is also slowly acclimatising to the grass after his first title on the lawns at Queen’s Club last month.

‘It’s interesting to play someone like Carlos,’ said Medvedev. ‘He is an amazing player. What he continues to do is just unbelievable. He doesn’t stop. But I played a lot of great players in my career. I managed to win many times.’

Alcaraz added: ‘Everyone knows that the big favorite is Djokovic, but the feeling I have is that I see myself capable of winning the tournament. I have the confidence, I have the level.’

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