Rafael Nadal: ‘I’m excited’

Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal wrote Spanish tennis history in the season behind us. The duo won three Major titles, leading the rankings and finishing in the top-2 as the first pair from the same country since Pete Sampras and Michael Chang in 1996.

Alcaraz is the youngest no. 1 player, and Nadal is the oldest top-2 player at the end of the year, writing the history books and hoping for more in 2023. The Spaniards will be the top seeds at the upcoming Australian Open, with a possible title showdown.

Nadal and Alcaraz have agreed to an exhibition match, which will take place on March 5, 2023 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena before Indian Wells. Nadal promoted the event saying he was excited to visit Las Vegas and compete against his compatriot.

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In keeping with the venue, the match is given the boxing-style name “The Slam: Nadal vs. Alcaraz” and should bring many tennis fans to Las Vegas. Nadal and Alcaraz met three times on the Tour, and the veteran won two matches.

Their first meeting took place in Madrid last year, with Nadal dropping just three games against the 17-year-old who was injured early on.

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will play in Las Vegas on March 5, 2023.

A lot has changed since then, and less than 12 months later, Carlos has become one of the world’s leading players.

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Carlos and Rafa trained together before this year’s Indian Wells and met in the semi-finals. The clash went down to the wire, with Nadal winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 after three hours and 12 minutes for a place in the title race.

Carlos got his revenge at the Caja Magica two months later, beating Rafa for the first time in a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory in two hours and 28 minutes. Alcaraz showed no nerves against the 21-time Major winner in front of the home fans.

Mladić fired almost 40 winners and came back after the second set to achieve his first victory over the clay court king. Carlos injured his ankle in the second set and let it go, not wasting energy before the decider.

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Alcaraz made a fresh start in the deciding game and controlled the result with bold shots. The teenager built a lead and fired an incredible forehand down the winning line in the ninth game to seal the deal and reach the semi-finals.


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