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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal cancel controversial Saudi Arabia exhibition


Djokovic and Nadal have pulled out of the match (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic has confirmed his controversial Saudi Arabia exhibition match against Rafael Nadal has been called off.

The Serb and the Spaniard had come under fire for their decision to compete in Saudi Arabia, in light of the murder of journaist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Djokovic and Nadal were due to earn more than $1million apiece for playing in Jeddah on 22 December but the match has now been called off due to an injury sustained by Nadal – a problem that has also forced him out of the ATP Finals in London this week.

World No. 1 Djokovic confirmed the match would not be taking place, saying: ‘It’s not happening.’

Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered (Picture: AP)

When asked whether it was because Nadal is injured, he simply replied: ‘Yes.’

The injury has spared the duo a potentially significant backlash of competing in Saudi Arabia and Djokovic had admitted the situation was ‘unfortunate’ when discussing the match – which was arranged a year ago – in light of the wider-reaching political situation.

‘I don’t like to involve myself in any political exchange or situations,’ he said at the Paris Masters last week. ‘And it’s unfortunate that we are both drawn into this right now.

Nadal has been forced to end his season early (Picture: Getty)

‘Right now we just don’t have obviously enough information, and we have to look into that a bit more and then we’ll make our decision soon.’

‘Nadal, also in Paris, added: ‘Of course I’m aware of all the situation. But I had a commitment since one year ago to play there. And my team is talking to them, to analyse the things. That’s it.

‘It’s terrible that one journalist lost his life. I know something happened very bad inside there. So we are looking about how evolves the situation and I hope the things will clarify as soon as possible.’





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