Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz have surprised tennis fans and announced an exhibition match in Las Vegas set for March next year. Nadal has just finished his tour of South America with World No.3 Casper Ruud, which saw him team up with Argentinian legend Gabriele Sabatini in doubles.
Fresh off his tour, Nadal has announced that he will play an exhibition match in Las Vegas with compatriot Alcaraz. Nadal said he was excited for his first visit to Las Vegas, before his clay court campaign gets underway.
"I’m very excited for my first visit to Las Vegas, one of the most iconic and entertaining cities in the world,” Nadal said of the announcement. “I’ll be playing with my fellow countryman Carlos Alcaraz who’s had an amazing year. It should be a great night of tennis at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.”
Alcaraz added: “I’m honored and so happy to be sharing the court with Rafa in Las Vegas. He’s an all-time great, of course, and his records and achievements speak for themselves. Rafa also is one of the nicest guys on Tour and I look forward to our match on March 5.”
Tennis fans were taken by surprise over the announcement with many American keen the duo duel it out in Las Vegas.
Carlos Alcaraz makes 2022 history
Alcaraz will enter the 2023 after a breakthrough season. The 19-year-old reached World No.1 having started the season at World No.32. The Spanish teen won the US Open, along with the Madrid 1000 Open, Barcelona Open, Miami 1000 and then Rio de Janeiro title.
He recently claimed another honour in a history-making year after beating out Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to finish the season as the ATP Tour's highest-earning player. The 19-year-old pocketed more than A$15 million this season to edge out Wimbledon and ATP Finals champion Djokovic (A$14.8 million) and 22-time grand slam champion Nadal (A$14 million).
Alcaraz is the youngest male player to finish the year as the World No.1 in the history of the ATP's computerised rankings. The Spaniard also joined compatriot and World No.2 Nadal as the first players from the same country to claim the top two spots at the close of a season in 26 years, with Americans Pete Sampras and Michael Chang achieving the same feat in 1996.
Alcaraz recently broke Lleyton Hewitt's longstanding record to become the youngest player to finish as year-end World No.1. The Spaniard will be hoping to start the season off strong at the Australian Open, which he was eliminated in the third round in 2022.
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