Now, those among you who like a good conspiracy might point towards Jeddah in Saudi Arabia being the host city as the reason for Shelton's withdrawal from the event. There might be some truth to that because Saudi involvement in sports remains a controversial topic for many people.
Some have called it positive for tennis because of the presumed large investment that will trickle down to the players, but some can't look past the country's reputation. Shelton never really spoke about it, so we don't know where he stands, but he won't be playing in Jeddah this time around.
He actually hinted at it recently in a social media post where he basically said that his next event would be in Australia, which meant no Next Gen ATP Finals. According to the latest reports, it's true, and the American truly won't play, which is likely due to fatigue and wanting to rest up.
The Next Gen Finals are more of an exhibition-style event that doesn't hand out any ATP Points, with prize money being the only reward. That in itself might not be enough for Shelton, who would prefer to rest up and prepare for next year to take the next step.
With Shelton's pullout, the event still has a pretty decent field. Players who qualified but don't want to play either include Lorenzo Musetti, Carlos Alcaraz, and Holger Rune, the latter two who obviously will play at the ATP Finals in Turin.
So, players who will play include Arthur Fils, Luca Van Assche, Dominic Stricker, Flavio Cobolli, and Abdellah Shelbayh, who received a wild card. As for Shelton, we'll see him next year Down Under, as he said recently in a social media post.