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Spanish Showdown: Rafa Nadal to Play Carlos Alcaraz in Las Vegas Exhibition

Grand Slam king Rafael Nadal will face world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday, March 5 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Photo credit: MGM Resorts International

March Madness will light up Las Vegas Slam style.

In an electric exhibition showdown, world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz will face second-ranked Rafael Nadal on Sunday, March 5 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The winner of the Spanish clash will hoist The Lion’s Cup presented by MGM Rewards.

Twenty-two time Grand Slam king Nadal is the only men’s player in history to complete the career Grand Slam twice and win two Olympic Gold medals in both singles and doubles. Nadal has been ranked in the Top 10 for a record 885 consecutive weeks, including 209 total weeks at world No. 1.

Carlos Alcaraz will take on Rafael Nadal in Las Vegas on March 5 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

“I’m very excited for my first visit to Las Vegas, one of the most iconic and entertaining cities in the world,” Nadal said. “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.”

The desert duel will be a prelude to the world’s top two playing the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells where they faced off in an epic encounter last March that saw Nadal prevail.

Tickets starting at $75, not including applicable service charges or fees, go on sale on Friday, December 9 at 10 a.m. PST via www.axs.com. All Club and Seat License members will receive access to a pre-sale Wednesday, December 7 at 10 a.m. PST through Thursday, December 8 at 5 p.m. PST. 

The exhibition clash pits the owners of three of the four Grand Slam championships with reigning Roland Garros and Australian Open champion Nadal and US Open champion Alcaraz, who made ATP history as the youngest year-end world No. 1.

“I’m honored and so happy to be sharing the court with Rafa in Las Vegas,” Alcaraz said. “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.”

Days before the 2022 US Open began, Alcaraz told Tennis Now at a Babolat clinic for kids his aim was to win the US Open.

A little more than two weeks later, Alcaraz accomplished his mission defeating Casper Ruud to capture his maiden major in New York City. Alcaraz became the youngest-ever men’s world No. 1 at 19 years and four months, along with becoming the first teenager since 1973 to sit atop the ATP Tour rankings.

Alcaraz, who repelled Ruud to win his first Masters 1000 crown at the Miami Open then went on to win Barcelona last spring, cracked the Top 10 in April. Alcaraz won five titles overall in 2022 and reached the third round or better in all four of the year’s Grand Slam events.

In advance of their match, Nadal and Alcaraz will each participate in a 90-minute individual VIP clinic. The two clinics will be followed by tennis’ all-time winningest doubles team of identical twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan as they take the court in a “celebrity” doubles match.

The Bryan brothers held the world No. 1 doubles ranking for 438 weeks, longest in ATP Tour doubles history, and finished an ATP year-end No. 1 in the team rankings a record 10 times while together amassing 119 doubles titles. They have a total of 16 Grand Slam doubles titles together, one Olympic Gold and won seven of the eight Grand Slams in 2005 and 2006. The Bryan brothers retired in August 2020 to shift their priorities to the Bryan Brothers Foundation, providing opportunities for children in need through tennis and music to the arts.

Immediately following the tennis action, THE SLAM Gala supporting the MGM Resorts Foundation, Rafa Nadal Foundation and National Tennis Foundation will be held at Rivea and Skyfall at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Tickets for THE SLAM Gala are now on sale at mgmresortsfoundation.com. Guests who purchase tickets will have the opportunity to take their photo with Nadal.