Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic just can’t quit each other.
There’s been some speculation in the blogosphere that the two are not as tight as they once were. But you’d never know it from their schedules. The pair are slated to play an exhibition as part of Arthur Ashe’s Kids’ Day at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. on Aug. 23 – two days before the start of the US Open, where they could meet up in the final.
In December, Rafanole – as the rivalry is affectionately known – sparks the exhibition season with team tennis on the 8th in Delhi. Rafa heads up the India Aces with Pete Sampras, Gael Monfils and Ana Ivanovic, among others, while Nole leads the UAE Falcons with Caroline Wozniacki, Goran Ivanisevic and Richard Gasquet. The other teams in the inaugural season of the International Premier Tennis League – which begins Nov. 28 in Manila and concludes in Dubai Dec. 15 – are the Serena Williams-led Singapore Slammers and the Maria Sharapova-starring Manila Mavericks. Clearly, tennis is trying to enhance its already international audience.
If you’ve never seen team tennis, it’s a lot of fun, in large part because the sport is so individualistic. It’s always intriguing to see the teamwork among people who are often otherwise opponents if not rivals. It’s like watching the baseball All-Star Game.
Surely, names like the Singapore Slammers are worthy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks.