Murray’s agent Matt Gentry says the three-time Grand Slam champion has rejected the opportunity to play in Riyadh; “If he feels strongly about something regardless, he’s at the stage where he will happily call it out and he will have that debate with people.”
Last Updated: 14/01/22 10:05pm
Andy Murray turned down a seven-figure appearance fee to play in an exhibition match in Saudi Arabia due to concerns over the country’s human rights record, his agent has revealed.
Saudi Arabia has hosted several major sporting events in recent years, including boxing, golf, formula one, and this week Spanish football’s Super Cup, while the country’s Public Investment Fund recently took over Premier League side Newcastle.
Saudi Arabia has been accused of attempting to use ‘sportswashing’ to distract from its human rights record and improve the country’s global reputation.
Murray’s agent Matt Gentry says the three-time Grand Slam champion rejected the opportunity to play in Riyadh, for which sums of up to £1.5m were being offered to tennis’ biggest stars.
“He’s turned down stuff in Saudi and I don’t think he would play there just because of what’s gone on,” Gentry told the SportUnlocked podcast.
“If he feels strongly about something regardless, he’s at the stage where he will happily call it out and he will have that debate with people. I don’t think he’s scared to voice his opinion on it.”
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were scheduled to compete in an exhibition event in Saudi Arabia in 2018 but it was called off due to the Spaniard being injured. Roger Federer had already rejected an offer to participate.
“Exhibition matches, they have done a few over the years where they have paid eyewatering sums of money to get players to come over, and he just wasn’t interested,” Gentry said from Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.
“If you are a former No. 1 player in the world in the Middle East you could potentially earn $1 million, $2 million for an exhibition match … this is for the top players, the big global names.”
Source : Sky Sports