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The tennis world melts as Rafael Nadal’s son steals the show

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Rafael Nadal’s return to the tennis court was overshadowed in the cutest way possible.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner was back in action in Las Vegas as he took on fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz for The Netflix Slam.

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The exposure competition saw the stars step out in the presence of Charlize Theron and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

And while the eyes of the tennis world were on Nadal, it was his 16-month-old son who stole the show.

Frances Tiafoe’s girlfriend Ayan Broomfield shared a candid video of the youngster in the stands playing tennis with a mini Babolat racquet in hand.

“Rafael Nadal Jr. was easily the highlight of the event,” Broomfield wrote.

Fans watching were equally fascinated to see the youngster wearing a mini replica of his father’s racket.

One user on Cutest thing I’ll see in a long time. Rafa Jr hits a tennis ball like he doesn’t want to let go! Like his father.

Another wrote: “Rafa junior hits a tennis ball with a mini racket and I will never be the same. »

The event was a highly sought-after ticket attended by NFL stars Jordan Love, Puka Nacua, Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford.

While most eyes were on Nadal’s son, it was Alcaraz who proved too strong on court as he cruised to a tiebreak victory 3-6, 6-4, 14-12.

The competition at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino was an opportunity for the two Spanish stars to test their fitness ahead of the ATP Indian Wells Masters.

“It’s a good thing that as a player I won’t face him often,” Nadal said after the exhibition.

“As a fan, I hope I enjoy watching him for many years to come. In Spain we should be very, very happy to see someone like Carlos come.

“He’s an incredible player. He is only 20 years old and he has already won two Grand Slams and a few important tournaments.

It was an encouraging performance ahead of Indian Wells, where Nadal is a three-time champion. In his last appearance at Indian Wells, Nadal finished second behind American Taylor Fritz in 2022.

The Spanish veteran will play his first round match in Indian Wells on Friday. Alcaraz, who will be seeded in the California desert, will receive a first-round bye.

Alcaraz, ranked second in the world, will attempt to become the first man to successfully defend his title at Indian Wells since Novak Djokovic’s trio from 2014 to 2016.

But the 20-year-old Spaniard has had his own injury worries of late, withdrawing from his first round match at the Rio Open less than two weeks ago after rolling his right ankle on the second point of the match against Thiago Monteiro. .

This is a new setback for the double Grand Slam winner, who fell to Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and lost to Chilean Nicolas Jarry in the semi-final in Buenos Aires.

Alcaraz has not won an ATP title since his stunning Wimbledon triumph over Djokovic last July.

– With AFP

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