Move over Cristiano Ronaldo! Rafael Nadal is headed to Real Madrid’s soccer stadium… But don’t worry; he’s not planning to bend it like Beckham!
The 25-year-old Spanish tennis star, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, will go head-to-head against World No. 1 player Novak Djokovic in an exhibition match at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium on July 14. The Spanish football club’s pitch will be transformed into a tennis court, with the event taking place in the gap between Wimbledon and the London Olympics.
The reason: Well, Nadal and Djokovic—who currently have the record for the longest final in grand slam history—are hoping to attract 80,000 attendees in their ambitious quest to rewrite another record.
The showdown is the result of a partnership between two charities, the Real Madrid Foundation and the Rafa Nadal Foundation, and aims to raise money for disadvantaged children.
Djokovic and Spaniard Nadal made history at the Australian Open in January, when the Serb won his fifth grand slam title in a five-set epic match lasting almost six hours.
Now they hope to shatter the record for the largest turnout at an exhibition match — set in July 2010 when 35,681 people watched Kim Clijsters beat fellow former world No. 1 Serena Williams in Brussels.
Nadal, a Real Madrid supporter who tries to attend as many matches as possible, said he was thrilled to be taking part in the historic event.
“Back to practicing, very happy because the Rafa Nadal Foundation’s event has been confirmed at Bernabeu!” he announced on his Facebook page.
Nadal and Djokovic have won a combined 15 majors and have had one of the sport’s top rivalries of late. Djokovic has defeated Nadal in the last seven finals they’ve played, including in the last three Grand Slam tournaments—Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open.