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

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 global sports events".

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.

There had been calls for the match to be cancelled after the murder of Saudi journalist 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.

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Both players tweeted their excitement shortly after the match was announced on October 7, less than a week after Khashoggi was killed.

"It was a complicated year, very good at the tennis level when I was able to play and at the same time very bad as far as injuries are concerned", Nadal said in a statement earlier this week. Roger Federer had turned down the invitation, saying he "didn't want to play there at that time". And my team is talking to them, to analyse the things. So we are looking about how evolves the situation and I hope the things will clarify as soon as possible'.

Asked if now the exhibition was not happening, Djokovic, speaking ahead of the start of the ATP Finals on Sunday, said: "Yes, it's not happening". I've been always trying to be very professional and respectful towards people that I have commitments with.

Nadal withdrew from the ATP World Tour finals after having surgery on his ankle last week, with American John Isner taking his place in the eight-man field in London. Djokovic is scheduled to play.

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