John McEnroe urges tennis not to follow in footsteps of PGA ‘hypocrites’ and pursue Saudi Arabia deal
Nick Kyrgios wants to be “signed up” and Carlos Alcaraz can see himself playing in Saudi Arabia in the future, but former world No 1 John McEnroe doesn’t want tennis to get into bed with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Hot on the heels of the Professional Golf Association (PGA) announcing that they would merge with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, tennis looks set to also cash in when it comes to investment from the Middle Eastern government.
News broke earlier this week that the ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi held “positive” talks with PIF and other potential investors
It remains to be seen if any deal will be signed, but 2022 Wimbledon runner-up Kyrgios made it clear that he would welcome any deal with PIF as it would mean more money.
“FINALLY. THEY SEE THE VALUE. WE ARE GOING TO GET PAID WHAT WE DESERVE TO GET PAID. SIGN ME UP 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰,” he tweeted.
World No 1 Alcaraz, meanwhile, stated that he would not have a problem playing in Saudi Arabia, saying: “I’ve never played an official tournament over there, and let’s see how it is going to be in the future.
“But, well, I have no doubts that I’ll play over there in the future.”
However, seven-time Grand Slam winner and commentator McEnroe is not keen on a deal.
“It looked to me like the PGA were total hypocrites when they cut a deal after they’ve been fighting them, in my opinion,” the tennis great said during an ESPN conference call.
“At the same time the people that are complaining about it, a lot of the people are hypocrites because our government does business with things along with tons of other hedge funds, wealth funds, down the list, people that have dealings.”
He was of course referring to the PGA initially being opposed to LIV Golf and banning players who signed up for the competition before agreeing to a merger.
Other sports, including football, have also had their fair share of debates about the Saudi-backed investments as Newcastle United in the Premier League is now owned by PIF while football great Cristiano Ronaldo and several other players have moved to the Saudi League.
McEnroe added: “What about Ronaldo? He’s being paid a couple hundred million a year. They have been buying players in other sports, brought boxing fights, you name it.
“I’m not surprised. I wouldn’t encourage it personally, the Saudi thing. I’m not surprised that tennis is being thrown into the mix after what we saw in golf.
“I don’t think that’s something that we should be pursuing, per se. It’s not in my hands.”
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