Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner and others set for Saudi Arabia exhibition

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, and the recent Australian Open victor Jannik Sinner are set to participate in a tennis exhibition event scheduled for October in Saudi Arabia, marking the kingdom’s latest venture into the sport. This showcase, named the “6 Kings Slam” in Riyadh, also includes Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune.

With the exception of Rune, all players have secured at least one Grand Slam title. Djokovic leads with 24, trailed by Nadal with 22. Alcaraz boasts two, while Sinner and Medvedev each hold one.

Nadal’s recent appointment as an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation adds to the anticipation of this event. However, human rights groups underline ongoing discrimination against women in various aspects of family life in the kingdom, and societal attitudes towards homosexuality remain conservative, aligning with prevailing norms in the broader Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has actively sought to improve the country’s international standing since the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Additionally, there is a clear agenda to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

Notably, the ATP men’s tour has relocated its annual tournament for players aged 21 and under to Jeddah, and negotiations are underway for the WTA women’s tour to hold its season-ending championship in Saudi Arabia.