Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic voice concerns over controversial Saudi Arabia exhibition

Florence Fletcher
November 1, 2018

Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his second round match against Portugal's Joao Sousa.

There were signs that a return to work with long-time coach Marian Vajda had reignited Djokovic's fire but he suffered another body blow when losing to Italian Marco Cecchinato on a damp claycourt in the French Open quarter-finals then angrily threatened to skip Wimbledon. "I went and I did an ultrasound and MRI, and they found some kind of a lesion in the tricep".

The 27-year-old Raonic survived an epic three-set first round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France (6-7, 7-6, 7-6) on Tuesday.

He had issues with the same leg in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in a loss to American John Isner, and needed treatment on his back during his Round of 16 loss to Isner at the U.S. Open. "Something that I was not able to do this year, playing only nine events and retiring in two".

"I feel like I've recovered well after last week".

Tournament organisers in Paris announced on Wednesday that Nadal had pulled out due to an abdominal strain.

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He will meet seventh seed Kevin Anderson or Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the next round. I checked with the doctor and he said that he recommended to not play, because if I continued the abdominal may break and could become a major thing.

After Paris the ATP tour's eight top-ranked players congregate in London from November 11 for the season's Finals. "I'm excited", he added, after winning the Swiss indoor championships in Basel on Sunday.

Nadal and Djokovic have defended their scheduled exhibition match there, but say they will seek more information before committing to the event.

Rafael Nadal pulled out of his second-round match because of an abdominal problem, meaning Novak Djokovic will reclaim the No. 1 ranking next week.

Fifth seed Marin Cilic cruised into the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Meanwhile, French hopes of success were dented when Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Jeremy Chardy and Benoit Paire were knocked-out in the first round on Tuesday.

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