Carlos Alcaraz Tops Rafael Nadal in Tiebreak at Inaugural Netflix Slam

“OK, I can die now.”

So stated a lady seated behind The Hollywood Reporter inside Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Extremely Enviornment in Las Vegas, host of the inaugural The Netflix Slam. She had simply snapped a selfie that captured superstars Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz warming up on heart court docket over her shoulder. Certain, it was a dramatic assertion nevertheless it wasn’t obscene for such an event. There’s no scarcity of gasp-worthy moments in Sin Metropolis, and there’s little question lots of the 10,000 seated friends may relate to the sentiment.

The Sunday afternoon showdown, the newest in Netflix’s push for dwell streaming occasions, pitted two famous person Spaniards in an exhibition match that could possibly be one of many last few occasions they meet throughout a internet. The truth that it occurred was a little bit of a coup, too, because it was rescheduled final yr on account of Nadal’s accidents and arrived simply in time as the 2 execs are headed to Indian Wells this week for the 2024 BNP Paribas Open.

Thirty-seven-year-old Nadal is returning to the tour after months away on account of damage, and he’s performed solely a few dozen matches for the reason that U.S. Open in 2022. Whereas the query of retirement follows him wherever he goes lately, Nadal stated on Saturday that he was feeling good heading into The Netflix Slam. “What places me ready to be near retirement is my physique greater than anything as a result of my thoughts is wholesome when it comes to ardour for what I’m doing,” he stated at a press convention attended by THR. In the meantime, Alcaraz, who has lengthy regarded to Nadal for inspiration, has emerged as an plain phenomenon after turning into the youngest man to earn the No. 1 rating, which he punctuated with main championship titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

From left: Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi and Carlos Alcaraz communicate throughout The Netflix Slam media availability occasion at Mandalay Bay Resort and On line casino in Las Vegas on March 2, 2024.

Chris Unger/Getty Photos

They introduced their magic to Las Vegas, with Alcaraz rising victorious in an exciting second-set tiebreak, paying homage to their play at any of the majors. Nadal gained the opening set of 6-3, with Alcaraz taking the second at 6-4. They each appeared to hit overdrive in a 10-point tiebreak to resolve the winner, and it was a nail-biter. Alcaraz nailed some winners, whereas Nadal revved up his serves and managed to tie it up at 9-9 with a volley that introduced the gang to its ft. However the teen matched his vitality and rallied to shut it out at 14-12, full with a standing ovation.

There have been loads of well-known faces on their ft. The Netflix Slam — produced by Full Day Productions’ Connor Schell and David Chamberlin — introduced stars to Vegas together with Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Charlize Theron, Lindsey Vonn, Danai Gurira, Logan Lerman, Manu Rios, Pau Gasol, Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford, Paula Patton and Dave Grohl. Hometown hero Andre Agassi appeared on court docket to current the championship trophy, and he joined Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mary Joe Fernández and Patrick McEnroe, Prakash Amritraj and Kay Adams for telecast commentary. The occasion was offered by sponsor French skincare gurus La Roche-Posay.

Throughout an interview with THR, Agassi stated he was stoked to see how Las Vegas has emerged as a go-to location for main sports activities occasions. “From the Tremendous Bowl to the Raiders, Components 1, the Stanley Cup — overlook it. It’s exceptional. Now to have tennis right here, it’s nice,” he stated. “I imply, I want it was sort of right here once I was taking part in.”

Watching Nadal and Alcaraz on court docket has additionally been nothing in need of spectacular, he continued. “To start with, they’re one other degree — athletically, velocity, protection, offense, tempo, spin trajectories, geometry,” he stated. “In a one-on-one sport, there’s all the time a query of the way you impose what you do in a means that simply beats one particular person versus making an attempt to simply play nice tennis. The greats of the sport actually perceive the nuance of that distinction. I’m not making an attempt to be great in the present day. I’m simply making an attempt to be higher than you. That’s what could be very comparable is every one in all them that brings out their degree of dominance.”

Except for the Nadal and Alcaraz match, Netflix and MGM delivered a program of tennis that included an Ace Problem that includes John Isner, Sam Querrey, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe, in addition to combined doubles match featured the Bryan brothers, Genie Bouchard and Asia Muhammad.

As soon as the primary match was over, Nadal and Alcaraz joined Agassi, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters and MGM Resorts Worldwide president William Hornbuckle for the trophy presentation. Each gamers additionally joined Fernandez for transient on court docket interviews. For his half, Alcaraz stated he was excited to return and play in Vegas after final yr’s postponement. “I take pleasure in this ambiance and taking part in in opposition to Rafa is actually, actually particular for me.”

Nadal returned the praise and acquired some laughs when he first admitted, “He’s a giant problem.” That stated, “We ought to be very, very glad to have anyone like Carlos arising. He’s an incredible participant.” Nadal closed his feedback by acknowledging that whereas their paths crossed right here, who is aware of when it is going to occur once more. “As a participant, I can’t face [Carlos] many occasions however as a fan, I’ll preserve having fun with him for such a very long time.”

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