Tennis’ two top-ranked men, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, have expressed doubts about their planned exhibition match in Saudi Arabia in December. But they also confirmed that they have yet to withdraw.
Earlier this month, the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a high-profile critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, sparking international outrage.
Critics such as Amnesty International have warned that if Nadal and Djokovic go ahead with the multimillion-dollar match, which is sponsored by the Saudi government and is scheduled to be played at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, they will lend credibility to an embattled regime.
Yet the players’ responses suggested that the contracts were signed a long time ago.
“I had a commitment since one year to play there,” said Nadal during a press briefing in Paris. “I know something happened very bad inside there. So we are looking about how the situation evolves and I hope the things will clarify as soon as possible.”