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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal headline Saudi Arabia’s new 'Kings Slam' tennis event

Published at :February 6, 2024 at 9:37 PM
Modified at :February 6, 2024 at 9:37 PM
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Ajay Gandhar

Serb and Spaniard has 46 grand slam titles between them

Tennis legends Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will headline a new exhibition tournament in Saudi Arabia, organizers announced on Tuesday, as the kingdom seeks to boost its global image through sport.

The Serb and the Spaniard, who have 46 Grand Slam titles between them, will be joined by Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz and Australian Open winner Jannik Sinner at the 6 Kings Slam, which will take place in Riyadh in October.

The event dubbed the ‘6 Kings Slam’, will take place in October in Riyadh and feature six of the top men’s players in the world, including Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz, Australian Open winner Jannik Sinner, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and rising star Holger Rune.

The tournament will not count for points or be part of the ATP Tour, but it will showcase the elite level of tennis in a country that is eager to host more major sporting events and boost its international reputation.

Djokovic and Nadal, who have a combined 46 Grand Slam titles, are the biggest attractions of the event, which will offer lucrative prize money for the participants. Djokovic has won 24 majors, including three this year, and is chasing the record of 25 held by Roger Federer. Nadal has won 22 majors, including a record 14 at the French Open, and is also an ambassador for Saudi Arabian tennis.

However, Nadal’s participation is also notable because he is recovering from hip surgery that forced him to miss the Australian Open and may limit his schedule for the rest of the season. The Spaniard has hinted that this could be his final year on the tour and that he wants to play in some special events, such as the French Open, the Olympics, and the Davis Cup.

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The ‘6 Kings Slam’ is the latest move by Saudi Arabia to attract top tennis talent to the country, which has also been in talks with the WTA to host the season-ending finals for the women’s tour. The country has faced criticism from some tennis legends, such as Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who accused it of exploiting the sport for its agenda.

However, some players, such as Tunisian star Ons Jabeur, have defended the country’s efforts to promote tennis and implement social and economic reforms. Saudi Arabia has also hosted other high-profile sporting events, such as Formula One, boxing, and golf, and has signed several football stars for its domestic league. The country is also bidding to host the 2034 World Cup.

Saudi Arabia has also hosted Formula One races, boxing matches, golf tournaments, and football games, and has signed several football superstars for its domestic league.

Rafael Nadal, who has hinted that this may be his final season, signed up as a tennis ambassador for Saudi Arabia last year, along with Novak Djokovic, who praised the country’s vision and ambition to develop sport.

The two rivals, who have dominated men’s tennis for more than a decade, will face each other again at the 6 Kings Slam, which promises to be a thrilling spectacle for the fans.

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