Rafael Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in a charity exhibition match next week. The two players swept the Grand Slam titles this year to inch closer to Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slams. The Serbian now has 16 major titles after winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Nadal won the French and US Open to take his total to nineteen.

Exhibition in Kazakhstan

Nadal and Djokovic will play an exhibition match in Kazakhstan on 24th October. The venue of the match will be at the Barys Arena which has a capacity of around 11,000 fans. After arriving in the country, Rafa and Djokovic will hold a press conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. They will then hold a tennis master class with young children from the country before playing the match. Proceeds from the match will go to charitable causes. The Spaniard has been out of action since the Laver Cup after injuring his wrist. He also married his longtime girlfriend Xisca Perello over the weekend. The wedding ceremony took place at the La Fortaleza estate in his hometown of Manacor. Djokovic played in the Shanghai Masters last week and lost in the quarterfinals to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The criticism from the Vienna Open director

The decision to play the exhibition match in Kazakhstan has received criticism from Vienna Open director Edwin Weldorfer. Edwin was not pleased because the two will play the match the same week as the Vienna Open and Swiss Indoors in Basel. According to ATP rules, players cannot play an exhibition match the week of an ATP tournament. Edwin slammed the two players for playing the match saying that they had broken the rules. He said that all exhibition matches should happen in the offseason after the ATP Finals. However, the Vienna Open director acknowledged that Nadal and Djokovic had obtained permission to play the exhibition from CEO Chris Kermode. The rules allow a player to petition the head of the tennis body for an exemption from the exhibition rule. Both players obtained permission and will not be subject to fines as a result.

However, Djokovic’s decision to skip the tournaments in Vienna and Basel means that he will lose his number one ranking to Nadal next month. The Serbian trails Rafal in the ATP rankings and will be defending more points at the Paris Masters and ATP finals in London. He will lose the number one ranking regardless of how both players perform in Paris.

Rafael Nadal’s ranking and performance in 2019

Rafael Nadal Stats info

Ranked no.2, the Spaniard played his last match on the 8th of September when he defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in the final in U.S. Open to win his 84th career title.

This year Rafael has a 47-6 win-loss record. The Spaniard clinched 4 titles in 2019 in Rome, at the French Open, in Montreal and at the U.S. Open. Rafael was the finalist at the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic’s ranking and performance in 2019

Novak Djokovic Stats info

At the moment ranked no.1, Djokovic played his last match on the 11th of October when he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6 7-5 6-3 in the quarter in Shanghai.

This year Novak has a 48-9 win-loss record. Djokovic conquered 4 titles in 2019 at the Australian Open, in Madrid, in Wimbledon and in Tokyo. The Serbian was the finalist in Rome.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic played each other 54 times. The head to head is 28-26 for Djokovic.

The last time that they squared off, Rafael Nadal won 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the final in Rome in 19th May 2019.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

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