Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2024 and Rafael Nadal - Brisbane International 2024

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal announced for Saudi Arabian exhibition

Both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been announced in a star-studded lineup for the ‘Six Kings Slam’ exhibition event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Djokovic and Nadal are joined by the likes of Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Holger Rune and newly crowned Australian Open champion, Jannik Sinner.

This signals Saudi Arabia’s continued attempt to move into tennis, with the ATP Next Gen Finals being held in the capital for the first time last year.

Upon the announcement of the event, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority branded it as a ‘major new tennis tournament’, that will be held on an unknown date in October.

Unlike other exhibition events, this will be held during the tennis season and could clash with Masters 1000 events in Shanghai and Paris.

This news comes only weeks after Nadal was announced as an ambassador for the Saudi Arabian Tennis Federation, with the event reportedly originally supposed to be held after the Australian Open, but was moved due to the Spaniard’s injury troubles.

Nadal had this to say after the exhibition event was confirmed, “After some other tennis players have done so, I am very excited to play for the first time in Riyadh.”

Inside the baseline…

This is certainly an interesting move made by all six players involved, that was likely motivated by large appearance fees offered to them. It was almost an inevitability that tennis would continue to move into Saudi Arabia, with the nation also being rumoured as a potential host for the WTA Finals, but it just seems a bit messy that it could clash with some big season ending tournaments in October. In terms of Rafael Nadal, this is also quite an intriguing move, as it suggests that he still intends to be competing in the latter stages of 2024, despite many thinking he could retire at either Roland Garros or the Olympics.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.