Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic announcement made with surprise Saudi Arabia match
RAFAEL NADAL and Novak Djokovic are set to meet in a lucrative exhibition match in Saudi Arabia at the end of the year.
The two players have faced each other 52 times in competitive matches with Djokovic leading the head-to-head 27-25.
Their last meeting was at Wimbledon in July when Djokovic won a dramatic five-set semi-final, which was played over two days.
With Nadal recovering from a knee injury, their next competitive meeting could be at the Paris Masters or the season-ending World Tour Finals.
But ahead of the 2019 season, Nadal and Djokovic will play each other in Saudi Arabia in December.
The match will take lace at the Jeddah's King Abdullah Sports City on December 22.
Nadal responded to the news on Twitter saying: “Thanks for the invitation and looking forward to playing and visiting for the first time!”
At the recent US Open, Djokovic spoke out about how his quest to become world No 1 and win Grand Slams is what drove him in matches against Nadal and Roger Federer.
Djokovic said: "Next to Nadal, [Federer is my] biggest rival I've had throughout my professional career.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal last played each other at Wimbledon (Image: GETTY)
"The matches I've played against him have shaped me into the player that I am today.
"That's something that I was saying before.
"Both, matches against Nadal and Federer, and Murray as well, have made me the player I am today.
“Those were the guys that I always wanted to win against because those were the guys I had to beat in order to be the No. 1, to win slams, and have the career that I had behind me.
"At the beginning of the career, I probably wasn't seeing things that I'm seeing them now in terms of being in an era with these guys.
"Now I'm grateful that I was, that I still am, in the era with these guys, that I get a chance to witness their greatness as well, their rivalry, Nadal and Federer, which is the biggest rivalry, one of the biggest, of all time, and at the same time to be competing against them on such a big stage every year for a long time."