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Rafael Nadal could break Roger Federer record as latest exhibition match announced

Rafael Nadal looks set to break a record set by Roger Federer after announcing the next stop in his South American exhibition tour with Casper Ruud. The Swiss star embarked on a similar series of matches with Alexander Zverev in 2019 and set the record for the most-attended tennis match ever in Mexico, and Nadal will now play at the same venue.

Nadal recently announced a series of exhibition matches in South America for November, bringing world No 3 Ruud along with him. It comes after the Spaniard admitted he didn’t know when he’d next compete following recent injuries as well as concerns for his pregnant wife’s health.

The 22-time Major champion and the 23-year-old announced the news on Nadal’s Instagram, confirming their first match in Buenos Aires on November 23. And it has now been announced that the pair will play at the ‘La Mexico’ bullring in Mexico City on December 1.

The stadium was the site of another exhibition match involving Federer and Zverev back in 2019, with their exhibition breaking the record for the largest attendance in tennis history as 42,517 fans came to watch the now-retired Swiss star defeat the 25-year-old 3-6 6-4 6-2. And Nadal’s match is expected to break the record, with the attendance believed to be the same or greater than the 2019 match.

“The best in the world will make history at #TennisFest! Don’t miss @RafaelNadal (#2) and @CasperRuud98 (#3) in an epic match,” Tennis Fest Mexico tweeted on Tuesday. As well as Mexico and Argentina, this year’s French Open finalists are also set to play exhibitions in Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil.

Ruud will be keen to get revenge on the 36-year-old after reaching his maiden Grand Slam final at Roland Garros this year, where he was defeated by Nadal 6-3 6-3 6-0 as the Spaniard lifted a record-extending 14th French Open title and 22nd overall Major.

The Norwegian followed it up by making another Major final at the US Open where he lost to another Spaniard in Carlos Alcaraz 6-4 2-6 7-6(1) 6-3. Alcaraz became the first teenager to win a Grand Slam title since none other than Nadal himself back in 2005, and also became the youngest world No 1 in ATP history as a result.

Ruud also jumped up to No 2 in the world from No 7 as a result of his run to the final, leapfrogging Nadal who remained in third place despite having a shot at the No 1 ranking during the US Open. But the 23-year-old relinquished his spot to Nadal after his loss at last week’s Korea Open, with Nadal now second in the world and Ruud in third.

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