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McEnroe’s dig at US government in rant against Saudi Arabia’s tennis takeover | Tennis News

Tennis legend John McEnroe has given his verdict over Saudi Arabia taking over the sport much like the phenomenon happened in golf and football. McEnroe took an outrageous dig at the US government in giving his opinion after ATP announced that the Next Gen Finals will be held in Jeddah on a five-year contract and amid rumours that the WTA Finals will be staged in Riyadh. McEnroe’s comment also came days after fellow tennis great Chris Evert called against Saudi Arabia’s tennis takeover.

John McEnroe gives his verdict on Saudi Arabia's tennis takeover
John McEnroe gives his verdict on Saudi Arabia’s tennis takeover

Following the footsteps of football and golf, tennis is officially becoming part of Saudi Arabia. Earlier this week on Thursday, ATP had announced that the 21-and under Next Gen Finals will be moving to Jeddah until 2028. Later, Sports Illustrated reported that Riyadh stands in competition along with Washington DC and Prague to host the WTA Finals the venue for which is yet to be officially announced by the organisers.

Speaking at an ESPN event, the seven-time major winner highlighted the hypocrisy over the criticism of Saudi Arabia taking over the sport when the US government had dealings with nation.

“This is something that’s being bandied about obviously since golf did this,” McEnroe said. “But a lot of the people … are hypocrites that sit around and say that golf or tennis shouldn’t go there while tons of businesses and tons of these people that you know about – including our government and many, many others – go there and do business, but all of a sudden it’s outrageous that sports athletes do it.”

While the former world No.1 opined that players should not be criticised for opting to go for events held in Saudi Arabia he admitted that he doesn’t want competitions to be held that nation. He added: “Having said that, I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think our sport needs it. I don’t think it would benefit from it, and I don’t think we should do it, personally.”

While WTA is yet to take their call over the Riyadh event, Evert said that had she been an active player, she would have opted out of the tournament.

“I mean, for me, I would prefer not to go to Saudi Arabia to play the WTA Finals,” she said. “Not that I’m going to go play, but for me, I would prefer the WTA not go to Saudi Arabia. Obviously they have the human rights issues and everything, just the way they treat women. I would be against it. But I don’t have a vote.”

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