Novak Djokovic: Exhibition in Saudi Arabia not happening this year

NEW YORK NY- SEPTEMBER 09 Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning his men's Singles finals match against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina on Day Fourteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9

NEW YORK NY- SEPTEMBER 09 Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning his men's Singles finals match against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina on Day Fourteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9

The King Salman Tennis Championship which was to bring together Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic has been postponed, the Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA) announced on Friday.

The match was dubbed the King Salman Tennis Championship and was a product of the Sports Development Fund, a Saudi government initiative urging "an infusion of capital to build new facilities, contributions to the privatization of sports clubs, and efforts to attract and promote worldwide sports events".

Saudi Arabia has come under huge scrutiny for their poor human rights record, especially after Jamal Khashoggi was butchered inside the country's embassy in Istanbul.

'I don't like to involve myself in any political exchange or situations, ' he said at the Paris Masters last week.

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

Novak Djokovic has returned to the world number one ranking.

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Ranked 22nd in June after two years of struggles with form and fitness that eventually saw him undergo elbow surgery, the Serbian has lost only two of his last 33 matches, winning back-to-back grand slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open.

The players had not withdrawn, though, saying the invitations were made at least one year ago.

"I didn't want to play there at that time". 'And it's unfortunate that we are both drawn into this right now. I know something happened very bad inside there. And my team is taking to them, to analyze the things.

"I have done everything possible to reach the end of the season in good condition, both in Paris and London, doing things well and I really wanted to play. We have to get more information on what's happening so we can make a rational decision whether it's good to go or not". "I'm aware of what's happening, and it's sad, of course".

But Nadal's ankle surgery earlier this week, which he had to remove a floating body in the joint after an abdominal injury ruled him out of the ATP Finals, means a politically-sensitive decision has been taken out of their hands.

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