Carlos Alcaraz and Tommy Paul share private chat as Cincinnati match rained off

Carlos Alcaraz was caught on TV sharing a moment with Tommy Paul after their Cincinnati Open match was rained off for the second time. The world No 1 was serving at 4-3 in the final set when the weather interrupted their battle. And they were forced to leave the court almost as soon as they returned less than an hour later, walking back to the locker room together and having a private chat.

Alcaraz and Paul had contested a thrilling match on the Centre Court in Cincinnati just six days after the American upset the world No 1 at last week’s Canadian Open. It was the Spaniard who took the opening set in a tiebreak and he held three match points with Paul serving at 5-6 in the second set.

But the 14th seed held strong and forced a tiebreak, taking it 7-0 to force a decider. Alcaraz broke in the first game of the final set and he was serving at 4-3 15-15 when they departed the court for a rain delay. Both players returned less than an hour later but, as soon as they stepped up to the baseline, the weather turned again.

The 20-year-old and the American were sent to the warm-up area and told to be on standby. And in a sweet moment caught on TV cameras, Paul waited for Alcaraz in the corridor as they walked back together, having a chat.

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As they entered the warm-up room, Novak Djokovic could be seen in the corner preparing for his match which is now expected to be delayed as a result of the backlog. Alcaraz approached the area that the world No 2 was standing in and they could be seen exchanging words and laughing together.

Paul went to another corner and was joined by his team, and Alcaraz then hopped on an exercise to stay warm while his coaches and brother also arrived. This time around, it wasn’t a long delay as they were both back out on the court within a few minutes for a shortened warm-up before finally resuming play.

Alcaraz was seeking revenge after losing to Paul in the quarter-final in Toronto last Friday. In that match, the 26-year-old came through 6-3 4-6 6-3 as the world No 1 could be seen throwing his racket and berating himself.

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But the American knew it would be a tough task to try and beat the two-time Major champion twice in the space of a week. “If he starts to be the most aggressive tennis player on the court before me, I’m in trouble. It’s hard to go from defence to attack against a guy like Alcaraz. The less time I spend defending, the better for me,” Paul said ahead of the match.

And he did find himself in trouble, trailing by a break as play finally resumed over an hour after it stopped. Alcaraz was able to close out the game to go 5-3 up before even more rain started falling with both men leaving the court for the third time.

This time it was the Spaniard who waited for Paul in the corridor as they laughed about the stop-start nature of the match.

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