"Legit thought that was Ben Shelton", "Shelton from Amazon" - Fans amused by Rafael Nadal's Madrid 1R opponent Darwin Blanch's resemblance to American

Rafael Nadal, Ben Shelton, and Darwin Blanch
Rafael Nadal, Ben Shelton, and Darwin Blanch

Rafael Nadal is all set to begin his 2024 Madrid Open campaign against America's Darwin Blanch on Wednesday, April 24. Tennis fans are excited and many could not help but notice similarities between 16-year-old Blanch and his compatriot Ben Shelton.

Nadal has entered the main draw of the Masters 1000 event via a protected ranking. At the age of 14 years and five months, Blanch became the second-youngest player to win an ATP ranking point and made his ATP Tour debut at the Miami Open earlier this year.

Blanch lost to Tomas Machac in the first round in Miami and is now set to face arguably the biggest challenge of his young career — Rafael Nadal on clay. After the main draw of the Madrid Open was released, tennis fans pointed out the uncanny resemblance between Blanch and another American prodigy, Ben Shelton.

Both players bear dark complexion and curly hair, and Shelton himself agrees that Blanch is his doppelganger, as he called the latter his "2.0." Tennis fans also concurred, with many saying that at first glance, they thought Shelton was drawn to face the Spanish legend in Madrid.

"Legit thought that was Ben Shelton when I opened up my feed this morning," wrote a fan.
"Shelton from amazon," a fan joked.
"This is not Shelton???" a fan tweeted.
"I thought it was Ben Shelton LMFAO," said a fan.

A fan joked that Blanch is Shelton's half-brother, with one demanding to see a picture of them together.

"This lad is Shelton’s unknown half brother," quipped another fan.
"Someone is running around with Ben Shelton’s face wtf. I need a picture of them together because what is this?" a fan suggested.
"Someone said Darwin Blanch is like trying to draw Ben Shelton from memory really got it me," said another fan.
"What in the discount Ben Shelton is going on here-" a fan wrote.

"I play Nadal wtf" - Darwin Blanch reacts to Madrid Open draw

Picture from the 2022 Madrid Open
Picture from the 2022 Madrid Open

Darwin Blanch was surprised to see Rafael Nadal's name against his on the 2024 Madrid Open main draw board. The American, who is 21 years younger than the 22-time Grand Slam champion, shared his hilarious reaction on social media.

"Guys I play nadal wtf," Blanch wrote.

Rafael Nadal will enter the contest after a positive outing at the Barcelona Open last week. The 37-year-old returned to tour-level action after a three-month injury layoff at the ATP 500 tournament and swept aside Flavio Cobolli in his opening-round match before losing to Alex de Minaur.

The former World No. 1 is the record champion at the Madrid Open, having won the tournament five times He last emerged victorious in Madrid in 2017.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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