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Spain’s Carlos Alcarez Tops Countryman Rafael Nadal to Win Inaugural Netflix Slam Tennis Exhibition Match Media Play News

March 3, 2024

Carlos Alcaraz topped Rafael Nadal, 14-12, in the third set tie-breaker to win The Netflix Slam, an exhibition tennis match pitting 22-time Grand Slam men’s singles title champion Nadal against world No. 2, and reigning Wimbledon champ (and fellow Spaniard) Alcaraz March 3 in Las Vegas.

“I’m honored and so happy to be sharing the court with Rafa in Las Vegas,” U.S. Open champion Alcaraz told Netflix after the match. “He’s an all-time great, of course, and his records and achievements speak for themselves.”

The Spanish tennis heavyweights, both visiting and playing in Vegas for the first time, stepped onto the Michelob Ultra Area at Mandalay Bay Casino early Sunday afternoon headlining Netflix’s second live-streamed sports competition after last year’s Netflix Cup — a mini golf contest featuring three Formula One drives and three PGA Tour players in doubles play.

With voice-over introductions by actor Jon Hamm, Alcaraz and Nadal were introduced to the announced sell-out crowd under spotlights typically reserved for a Vegas heavyweight boxing match.

Three former U.S. world No. 1 ranked tennis champions Andre Agassi , Jim Courier and Andy Roddick shared co-hosting, with Courier doing play-by-play analyst duties alongside Peter McEnroe.

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Nadal, who is facing a possible retirement decision after an injury-plagued 2023, needed to find confidence early to win the match, Courier said early in the match.

“He believes in self-doubt and the momentum he can build from it,” Courier said.

Nadal won the opening set 6-3, while Alcaraz won the second set 6-4. The last set was a nail-biting 10-point tie break, during which Nadal first tied the score at 9-9 with one of his signature volleys. However, determining a winner wouldn’t be that easy. Both Nadal and Alcaraz played some of their best tennis down the stretch, bringing the score to 13-12 Alcaraz ahead of what would be the final match point.

“Playing him is so special we are going to enjoy this moment,” Alcaraz said.

The event, which featured numerous celebrities in attendance, including Colin Kaepernick, Michael Douglas and his wife Catherin Zeta Jones, and Charlize Theron, among others, was produced by Full Day Productions, the company behind The Netflix Cup, ESPY Awards, the Oscars Red Carpet Show, and the NFL Honors.

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Erik Gruenwedel

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