Cape Town - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal agreed to play in an exhibition match in Saudi Arabia earlier this month, but have remained silent since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The middle eastern nation has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, with the truth eventually emerging that missing Khashoggi was strangled to death by a hit-squad reportedly belonging to the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.
The journalist was known for being highly critical of the Saudi crown prince and it’s king.
On October 7, during the period where authorities were trying to find the missing Khashoggi, Nadal tweeted that he had accepted to play Djokovic in an exhibition match in Jeddah on December 22.
Not they they need it, but each player will reportedly bag a cool $1 million for their efforts. Since, they have kept radio silence.
While lucrative exhibition matches among high-profile players are nothing new, one can understand their moral dilemma, especially in light of Khashoggi’s murder.
Both players are known for their philanthropic efforts and are respected worldwide on and off the court.
If the pair go through with their exhibition, they could - arguably at the risk of their lives - raise awareness of the repressive nature of the Saudi state, which has human rights issues galore.
On the flip side, their appearance could also be seen as legitimising the atrocities.