Rafael Nadal will not compete at Roland Garros and is taking some months away from tennis
Rafael Nadal has not competed for a year. AFP News

Streaming giant Netflix has decided to venture once more into the world of live sports action. They have announce an exhibition match between Spain's biggest tennis stars, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, which will take place in the glitzy city of Las Vegas on March 3, 2024.

The event has been dubbed "The Netflix Slam" and was announced via a social media post straight from Netflix. The match will be streamed exclusively on the platform, and is a slight deviation from their more popular formats such as films, documentaries and series.

According to various reports, the head-to-head match between the two Spaniards has been proposed since last year. However, the project had to be parked after Nadal decided to take most of 2023 off to recover from recurring injuries.

Prior to his year-long hiatus, Nadal was still one of the most formidable players on the ATP tour. In fact, he had one of his most successful years on tour in 2022. He won his first 20 matches of the year, and claimed three titles in a row, including the Australian Open.

He followed up that success by lifting his record-extending 14th French Open title. He ended the year with 22 Grand Slam titles to his name, and at the time was the man who held the record for most major titles before Novak Djokovic later overtook him to claim 24 titles.

Unfortunately, while trying to defend his title at the 2023 Australian Open, Nadal suffered a hip injury, which later led to his withdrawal from both Indian Wells and the Miami Masters. He later missed the entire clay court and hard court seasons, promising to return in 2024.

Meanwhile, Alcaraz has long been seen as the heir apparent to Nadal's throne. The younger Spaniard has made no secret of his admiration for his countryman, and he has shown that he may have the chops to emulate Nadal on court.

He is currently ranked number 2 in the world, but has managed to clinch the world number 1 spot for 36 weeks. Needless to say, he is one of the hottest young stars on the tennis tour, and the Netflix project can be seen as a "passing of the torch" between the two players.

Netflix is looking for a winning formula

Over the past few years, Netflix has been trying out various ways in which they can tap into the sports market. F1 series "Drive to Survive" has been a huge success both for the streaming giant and for the sport itself, and some of the F1 drivers also participated in the recent "Netflix Cup" of golf.

Netflix has also featured several documentaries about football players and clubs, as well as some in depth looks into some of the biggest sporting controversies. They also produced a documentary about the Tour de France, and a look into the life and career of MMA legend Conor McGregor.

Most recently, a documentary focused on England legend David Beckham made waves all over the world. As far as tennis goes, their "Break Point" series was received with mixed reviews, and they will be hoping that this great duel between Nadal and Alcaraz will be a resounding success.

"The Netflix Slam" will be played at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Apart from Nadal and Alcaraz, a number of other players will be competing, but details have yet to be revealed.

Nadal spoke about the upcoming event during its launch: "I am very excited for my first visit to Las Vegas, one of the most iconic and entertaining cities in the world. Also to play with Alcaraz. I'm sure it will be a fantastic night of tennis."

Nadal announced earlier this month that he plans to return to competitive action in Brisbane in January, and will be hoping to stay healthy throughout the year. He said that he is not realistically hoping to win titles, but he hopes to be able to end his career on court and on his own terms.

Meanwhile, Alcaraz is also happy to be part of the Netflix exhibition. "I am very happy to share the court with Rafa in Las Vegas. He is one of the greatest players of all time, of course, and his records and achievements speak for themselves," he said.