Carlos Alcaraz move infuriates tennis fans amid Rafa Nadal's absence from US Open

The comparisons between Alcaraz and Nadal have now stretched to what they wear on court.

Carlos Alcaraz and Rafa Nadal at the US Open.
Carlos Alcaraz channelled Rafa Nadal's signature sleeveless look at the US Open. Image: Getty

The comparisons between Carlos Alcaraz and fellow Spaniard Rafa Nadal were always going to be inevitable when Alcaraz broke onto the ATP tour. But they've now stretched to what the World No.1 is wearing on the court.

Tennis fans couldn't help but notice that Alcaraz looked remarkably like Nadal on Tuesday (local time) as he sported a sleeveless tank top for his first-round clash with Dominik Koepfer at the US Open. Nadal has made the sleeveless shirt his signature look over the years, with fans in awe of the Spaniard's gun-show every time he wears it.

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And on Tuesday it was Alcaraz channelling Nadal as he wore a tank top of his own. However the look divided opinion amongst fans, with some in love with it and others not impressed.

Carlos Alcaraz, pictured here in the first round at the US Open.
Carlos Alcaraz went sleeveless in the first round at the US Open. (Photo by COREY SIPKIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Others were also left perturbed at the constant references to Nadal during Alcaraz's match. Nadal is sitting out the remainder of 2023 while he gets his body back to 100 per cent for one final year on the tour.

Alcaraz, who will lose his No.1 ranking to Novak Djokovic no matter how far he progresses at the US Open, made short work of Koepfer in their match on Arthur Ashe Stadium as the German retired hurt in the second set while down 2-6 2-3. The German called a timeout after the opening game of the match and appeared to be hampered by a foot problem.

"That's not the best way to get through into another round," Alcaraz said on court. "But I have to say on my side I was playing great."

Daniil Medvedev and Andy Murray win at US Open

Earlier on Tuesday, former champions Daniil Medvedev and Andy Murray both joined Alcaraz and Djokovic in the second round. Third-seeded Russian Medvedev, who has been the forgotten man amid Alcaraz and Djokovic's shadow, steam-rolled past Attila Balazs 6-1 6-1 6-0.

His clinical dissection of Balazs served notice to his rivals that he remains a real threat to claim his second title in New York in three years. "I don't care. It is normal Carlos and Novak are the biggest names right now," said Medvedev when asked if he felt overlooked. "My goal is to play well and get to where they are and try to win that is all I can do."

Medvedev lost to eventual champion Alcaraz in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in July. He has had a quiet US Open build-up, getting to the quarter-finals of the Canadian Open and the round of 16 a week later in Cincinnati. But he has always produced some of his best work in New York, reaching the final in 2019, semi-finals in 2020 and winning it in 2021.

He will take on Chris O'Connell in the second round after the Aussie beat compatriot Max Purcell 6-4 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5). Another former champion in Murray won his 200th grand slam match with a three-set victory over fiery Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

The two-time Wimbledon champion, who also won the US Open in 2012, overcame an unorthodox and awkward opponent 6-2 7-5 6-3 to become the eighth male player in the Open era to reach the double-century. "I hope it was entertaining, there were some fun points, so I'm happy to get through in straight sets," the 36-year-old said.

"It was a long one, but the way we play it was probably always going to be like that. Three hours is a lot shorter than some of my matches!"

Murray will meet Bulgarian 19th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who saved three match points in a 6-7 (9-11) 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 7-5 7-6 (11-9) win over Slovakia's Alex Molcan. German 12th seed Alexander Zverev had little trouble against Australian Aleksandar Vukic 6-4 6-4 6-4, while Andrey Rublev advanced after defeating Frenchman Arthur Cazaux 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.

with AAP

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