Novak Djokovic confirms controversial $1m Saudi Arabia match is off

Annette Crawford
November 11, 2018

He will hope that his opponent is suffering from a mental and physical hangover from his recent gruelling defeat to Novak Djokovic in Paris, but Federer has been in positive mood heading into London and will be fully focused on making a charge towards his 100th career title.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have called off their controversial pre-Christmas exhibition match in Saudi Arabia after the ankle injury that has kept the Spaniard out of London's Nitto ATP Finals.

Along with Juan Martin del Potro, the Japanese star was tipped to be the one of the guys that would eventually break the stranglehold that Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray had on the men's game for so long.

Isner hopes to make a similar impact to compatriot Jack Sock, who reached the semis on his debut a year ago before losing to eventual champion Grigor Dimitrov.

Speaking before the start of the season finale at London's O2 Arena, the Serb said next to the Grand Slams and the ATP Finals, reaching the number one spot was the "ultimate challenge" in the sport.

Federer is expected to emerge from Group Lleyton Hewitt, also featuring Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori, while Djokovic is highly fancied to top Group Guga Kuerten, which also includes Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and John Isner.

"I don't think it matters really where I win my 100th as long as it's going to happen at one point", said Federer, who has 99 titles in his illustrious career.

Federer and Djokovic have been the two most dominant players at the season-ending spectacle, winning six times in London between them, but the Serbian world No. 1 does not share Federer's view that the tournament should stay where it is. "I don't have much to lose, so I'll play loose and free".

"But there was always part of me that believed I could make it back and I never thought it was impossible".

'I think if it stays here it will be a good choice, ' he told reporters at the O2 Arena.

The 31-year-old, who slipped to 22nd in the world in May, admitted that after his surgery it looked improbable that he would finish the year as number one. "That was a massive highlight in my career to be among the best eight and I actually had a great run too, that very first time in Shanghai". "It turned out to be a flawless five months".

Rafael Nadal has made a decision to end his season early after suffering an abdominal injury ahead of the Paris Masters last week.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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