Leave the gun show to Rafael Nadal.
That’s the message to Alexander Zverev after the German showed off some skin in his opening round win over Marcos Giron at the Australian Open this week.
Zverev stepped onto the court wearing a singlet as he paraded his biceps around Melbourne Park during a 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2 win.
The 23-year-old stands nearly 2m tall and has often joked about his reputation as the “skinny” guy on tour. His height alone makes him look like a beanstalk and tennis broadcasters Catherine Whitaker and David Law suggested his frame wasn’t built to pull off a shirt without sleeves — a look regularly rocked by Nadal.
Whitaker said Zverev doesn’t have “Nadal-type biceps” and thought he should have played it safe at the year’s first grand slam.
“He looked pretty silly in it,” she said on The Tennis Podcast.
“He’s had his fingers burned with statement outfits before. The baseball kit with knee-high socks lives long at my mind at the US Open.
“Just wear a T-shirt and shorts, mate.”
Law was on the same page as his colleague.
“Remember when early (Juan Martin) del Potro wore one of those? He didn’t really have the arms for it then, but he obviously filled out eventually,” Law said.
“I remember once Grigor Dimitrov tried to wear one and he looked ridiculous.
“There are not many that can pull it off to be honest and Zverev absolutely doesn’t have the physique for it.”
Zverev mangled a racquet in frustration as he was made to dig deep against Giron before reaching the Australian Open second round.
The world No. 7, a semi-finalist last year who is gunning for a maiden grand slam title after losing the 2020 US Open decider, lost a tight first set against the 73rd-ranked American before grinding to a gutsy victory.
It was a tougher assignment than expected, with Zverev smashing his racquet in anger during the second set before regaining his composure.
“He played incredible. He had me on the ropes, particularly in the second set tie-break,” said Zverev, who is into round two for a fifth straight year.
“I was just happy to get through. Playing the first round of a grand slam is never easy. My body felt a little fatigued, I was a little tired.”
He will meet American qualifier Maxime Gressy next.
Zverev came into the tournament having beaten world No. 12 Denis Shapovalov in the ATP Cup last week while pushing top-ranked Novak Djokovic deep into a third set, before being beaten by fourth-ranked Daniil Medvedev.
He is looking to become the youngest grand slam singles champion since Djokovic won the title at Melbourne Park in 2011.