Novak Djokovic won’t be facing Rafael Nadal in their exhibition tennis match at Mubadala in Saudi Arabia according to the Serbian number one.
The pair had been contracted to play in this competition in December but following Nadal’s decision to get himself operated to remove a floating object from his ankle, it’s been decided the Spaniard wouldn’t be fit in time for the match-up.
The Mubadala match was to be played in Jeddah on December 22 but Djokovic, speaking on the sides of his preparation for the ATP World Tour Finals confirmed the cancellation.
Earlier, there was widespread criticism from experts and fans alike about the match after it was revealed a journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been murdered in a Saudi embassy in Istanbul.
There were calls from prominent journalists around the world including Laura Wagner of the Deadspin and Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian to take a call against participating in the tournament.
Incidentally, the criticism hasn’t been restricted to tennis alone, what with WWE been panned for featuring a ‘Crown Jewel’ competition there and a friendly soccer match between Brazil and Argentina going ahead as planned as well. However, the in-depth revelation of what had transpired in that incident was revealed only later.
Both Djokovic and Nadal had earlier confirmed they knew about the incident in Istanbul and were monitoring the situation to understand more. However, neither had decided to call off the match before the Nadal injury looked to have forced their hand.
Interestingly, both players were expected to earn more than $1 million apiece for appearing in the encounter. Swiss maestro Roger Federer had earlier confirmed he had been approached to feature in the tournament but opted out of it.
Djokovic begins his ATP World Tour Finals campaign on Monday, November 12, with his opening match against John Isner. All the ATP Finals action can be followed here.