Carlos Alcaraz snubbed by ex-star for Sky Sports as US Open request denied

Feliciano Lopez revealed that he was forced to turn down Carlos Alcaraz for his new Sky Sports job at the US Open. The world No 1 wanted to practice with the retired Spanish star ahead of his first-round match on Tuesday but had to turn to Cameron Norrie when Lopez rejected him.

Alcaraz is preparing to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time in his young career at the US Open. The top seed begins his campaign in Tuesday’s night session slot against Dominik Koepfer, and the 20-year-old has been seeking out a left-handed practice partner ahead of the match.

But he wasn’t able to turn to compatriot Lopez for a lefty hitting partner as the former world No 12 is part of Sky Sports’ new coverage of the US Open in the UK and rejected Alcaraz’s request. “Everything is great so far,” the 41-year-old told Sky from the practice courts at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Centre.

“I was asked to be a hitting partner of Carlitos, he’s here a few metres away. I said, ‘Sorry I’m so busy with Sky Sports I’m not going to be your hitting partner today.'”

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It meant that Alcaraz had to seek out another left-hander to hit with, and ended up turning to British No 1 Norrie. “I love that, you turned down Carlitos for Sky,” Gigi Salmon responded to Lopez. “So in your absence, he practised with Cam Norrie instead I believe?”

And Lopez explained that it was a regular occurrence for players to try and hit with him when they were about to face a left-handed opponent. He added: “Yeah, he was looking for a lefty, he’s playing tomorrow against the German guy Koepfer so this is normal when you play a lefty.

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“Obviously there’s not many out there, I’ve been asked so many times to play against players when they have a lefty in the draw. And I’ve been watching a little bit of the practice session and they were playing with a lot of intensity. They’re getting ready, both of them.”

Norrie will be hoping that some of Alcaraz’s form can rub off as the Brit is on a four-match losing streak, dating back to Wimbledon. The 16th seed in Flushing Meadows, Norrie also begins his campaign on Tuesday as he faces Alexander Shevchenko.

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