Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic cancel planned exhibition match in Saudi Arabia

A planned exhibition match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in Saudi Arabia has been called off.

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Rafa and Nole were due to take part in a one-off exhibition contest in Jeddah on December 22. They committed to the event over a year ago and were under pressure to pull out after Amnesty International condemned the plans following the recent death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Serb told BBC Sport on Friday:

Nadal is injured, so the match is not happening this year.

Thankfully, the exhibition match is finally cancelled. And let’s be honest we all know it’s not just because of Rafa’s injury and Nole is likely to face more questions about the situation in the coming days. Anyway, it was a safe excuse to do the right thing.

Source: BBC

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Rafael Nadal to play Novak Djokovic in Saudi Arabia exhibition

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World number one Rafael Nadal on Sunday said he has agreed to play an exhibition match against fellow Grand Slam title winner Novak Djokovic in Saudi Arabia in December.

“Thanks for the invitation and looking forward to playing and visiting for the first time,” Rafa said on Twitter.

The match between the two stars will take place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City on December 22.

Rafa and Nole have played 52 times in their careers with the Serb leading their head-to-head 27-25.

Source: AFP

Rafael Nadal loses to Lucas Pouille at Hurlingham

Rafael Nadal has suffered a straight-sets defeat to Lucas Pouille in his final Wimbledon warm-up match at the Aspall Tennis Classic at Hurlingham. The world No. 1, who beat Matthew Ebden on Wednesday, went down 6-7(10), 5-7 to the French player in London.

Rafael Nadal beats Matthew Ebden at Hurlingham Club in exhibition match

Rafael Nadal started his Wimbledon warm-up by defeating Matthew Ebden 7-6(3), 7-5 in an exhibition match at Hurlingham.

Our champ looked in fine physical form after pulling out of the Queens tournament following Roland Garros to take a rest at home in Majorca.

The world No. 1 was due to face Australian Open semi-finalist Hyeon Chung but the South Korean pulled out.

On Friday, Rafa is scheduled to face Frenchman Lucas Pouille.

In case you missed the match, you can watch it here.

What time does Rafael Nadal play at Hurlingham?

Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Rafael Nadal is to warm up for Wimbledon with two exhibition matches at the Aspall Tennis Classic at Hurlingham this week.

The world No. 1 will play this year’s Australian Open semi-finalist  Hyeon Chung on Wednesday before facing Lucas Pouille, a previous Wimbledon quarter-finalist, on Friday – just three days before the SW19 showpiece gets underway.

Here’s the schedule of play at Hurlingham:

Wednesday 27th June (play starts at 2 PM local time)

Maria Sharapova v TBC

Hyeon Chung v Rafael Nadal

Friday 29th June (play starts at 2 PM local time)

Rafael Nadal v Lucas Pouille

Followed by Pablo Carreno Busta v Karen Khachanov

Not before 5:30pm - Bahrami/Rusedski v Philippoussis /Pernfors

Rafa said:

It’s always great to play in front of UK fans so I can’t wait to return.

I’m working hard and this is the perfect way to warm up for Wimbledon.

2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the Aspall Tennis Classic at Hurlingham, which over the years has become one of the world’s most star-studded tennis exhibitions. This year’s edition takes place from Tuesday, June 26 until Friday, June 29.

Vamos Rafa!

Rafael Nadal sends message to Australian Open rivals with very good display at Tie Break Tens

After demolishing French No. 18 Lucas Pouille 10-1, Rafael Nadal had to save a match point to defeat Lleyton Hewitt in a wild 13-11 tiebreak.

The final against Tomas Berdych was tight early on before the sweet-swinging Czech overpowered Rafa in the latter stages of the match, a perfectly executed wide serve followed up by a volley to the open court establishing a 6-3 lead that Rafa was unable to pull back. Rafa saved one match point at 9-4 but a double-handed backhand on the next point sailed just wide for Berdych to claim the win at the Tie Break Tens tournament in Melbourne.

Rafa’s court coverage and powerful ground strokes look ready for another lengthy Melbourne Park campaign when the year’s first Grand Slam commences on Monday.

Quarter-finals
Lleyton Hewitt 10-6 Novak Djokovic
Lucas Pouille 1-10 Rafael Nadal
Tomas Berdych 10-8 Nick Kyrgios
Milos Raonic 10-7 Dominic Thiem

Semi-finals
Lleyton Hewitt 11-13 Rafael Nadal
Tomas Berdych 11-9 Milos Raonic

Final
Rafael Nadal 5-10 Tomas Berdych

Source: news.com.au

Rafael Nadal losses to Richard Gasquet at Kooyong Classic

(AAP) – Rafael Nadal appears to have passed his Australian Open fitness test with flying colours despite losing his practice match at the Kooyong Classic.

The world No.1 fell to Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-5 in their exhibition match in Melbourne on Tuesday but, more importantly, Rafa looked to be moving freely on his troublesome knee.

It was a good test for me and good practice.

I’m good and I am here so that’s good news and my idea is just to keep practicing the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open.

It was a long year last year so I started my preparation a little bit later than usual. It’s good to start having the feelings of playing a match even if it’s not official.

It was Rafa’s first match in almost three months and first since withdrawing from the ATP Tour Finals in mid-November after an opening three-set loss to David Goffin.

He downplayed any concerns about his knee, saying:

If I’m not feeling good, probably I will not be here. So that’s the good news.

Rafa looked rusty with some erratic forehands but it was a big step forward as he targets a second Australian Open title. He trailed Gasquet 3-0 in the second set after going down a double break but clawed his way back to lead 5-4 only to lose his serve again.

Source: AAP