Many leading athletes have been tempted to compete in Saudi Arabia in recent years, but that’s certainly not the case with three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray.
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Andy Murray has in the past turned down a seven-figure sum to play an exhibition match in Saudi Arabia, a spokesman for the British tennis star said.
Saudi Arabia has hosted a number of major sporting events in recent years after significantly boosting its financial strength – with many of the star names competing in the country.
However, due to human rights problems in the country, Murray has insisted on lucrative offers to compete in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi.
Murray’s agent revealed this ahead of the start of the Australian Open on Monday, where the three-time grand slam winner of the first round will face No. 21 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.
AAP / PA images)
“He turned things down in Saudi Arabia and I don’t think he would have played there just because of what happened,” revealed Matt Gentry, co-founder of 77 Sports Management, as quoted by Hours .
“If he feels strong despite something, he’s at a stage where he’s happy to announce it and have this debate with the people. I don’t think he’s afraid to express his opinion on it.”
Murray’s rivals Novak Đoković and Rafael Nadal are expected to compete in 2018 at an exhibition event in the country.
However, he was fired because the Spanish tennis legend was injured.
Roger Federer, meanwhile, has already refused an advance to participate in Saudi Arabia.
Human rights issues in Saudi Arabia remain a real concern – many big sports stars have expressed their great concern about the situation in the country, especially Lewis Hamilton.
Critics say Saudi Arabia has spent huge sums of money on sports in recent years – including golf, boxing and F1 – as part of their “sports laundering” plan to improve the country’s international image.
Same-sex marriages are illegal in Saudi Arabia, while any homosexual act can also be punished by flogging or imprisonment. In addition, the death penalty may be used.
Gentry said Murray is simply not “interested” in any offer from a country where the fight for women’s full equal rights is still ongoing.
“Over the years, they’ve done a few show matches where they paid staggering sums of money to get the players to come to their senses, and he just wasn’t interested.” Gentry added.
“If you’re a former No. 1 player in the world in the Middle East, you can potentially earn a million dollars, $ 2 million for an exhibition match … that’s for top players, big world names, and I think golf is probably quite similar in that respect. . “
Formula One hosted its first grand prize in Jeddah last month, while the Asian Golf Golf will host Saudi International next month near the city where the $ 5 million cash prize will be.