Three Things We Learned From Netflix Slam Match Featuring Nadal And Alcaraz

Three Things We Learned From Netflix Slam Match Featuring Nadal And Alcaraz

by Nurein Ahmed

So, the dust has settled on the much-anticipated Netflix Slam - a first-of-its-kind exhibition live-streamed on Netflix, pitting Rafael Nadal against compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.

A few weeks ago, it looked like the event planners were flirting with disaster, with both players seemingly far from healthy for the blockbuster that was penciled to take place in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay's Michelob Ultra Arena.

Thankfully for the organizers, Nadal and Alcaraz, who carried injuries in the buildup, recovered to put on a show, albeit in very testing conditions. It was the younger Spaniard who prevailed over his master. And here are three takeaways from the first Netflix Slam.

3. Top Dollar For Tennis' Top Men

Like every global sport with massive viewership, low-key tournaments or exhibitions are willing to part with vast sums of their revenue to pay off the top players in appearance fees because they can make handsome profits in return.

That was the case at the Netflix Slam, with Nadal and Alcaraz reportedly growing their net worth by at least $1 million. About 10,000 fans were in attendance, and the buildup was so marquee that courtside tickets cost a staggering $3,000. Because of both players' star power and charisma, hardly any tickets went unsold.

2. Nadal Shows Signs Of Promise

Some critics billed this match as just another glorified practice session, but it was far from it. Rafael Nadal is still giving himself every possible chance to return to competitive shape after succumbing to another hip injury while competing in Brisbane.

His level was quite admirable for a man who, admittedly, had not played a single practice set since hurting his hip in Australia a couple of months ago. Whether he will sustain this level in Indian Wells is a different ball game, but the signs are encouraging.

1. Alcaraz Has Work To Do Before Indian Wells

Alcaraz won the match in a super tie-break but faces stiff competition when he makes the short trip to Palm Springs to defend the Indian Wells title in the next fortnight. He had to work round the clock in Rio after picking up an untimely ankle injury.

It was feared that he was going to miss a considerable chunk of the season until an MRI scan revealed that he suffered a Grade II sprain that required just a few days of rest and treatment. It was far from an ideal preparation for Indian Wells, where a 96-player field would feature some of the big guns.


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