Carlos Alcaraz backs Rafael Nadal’s Saudi Arabia move – ‘There is no better person than Rafa’

Carlos Alcaraz sips water

Carlos Alcaraz has supported Rafael Nadal’s decision to become an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s tennis federation, saying “I don’t think it’s bad” despite the backlash from tennis fans and critics of the autocratic regime in the Middle Eastern country.

Former world No 1 Nadal caused a stir in January when it was confirmed in a joint statement that he had linked up with the Saudi Tennis Federation to promote the sport in the country.

Besides coaching clinics, the Spaniard also planned to open a Rafa Nadal Academy in the country and he added in a statement: “Beyond playing I want to help the sport grow far and wide across the world and in Saudi there is real potential.”

The 22-time Grand Slam winner faced heavy criticism as many believe Saudi Arabia is using sport to detract from their poor record human rights records, especially for women and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Amnesty International UK accused Nadal of being “just the latest chapter in Saudi Arabia’s relentless sportswashing operation”.

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal ‘joined Saudi Arabia’s relentless sportswashing operation’ while WTA warned against taking backward step

But not long after the Nadal announcement it was revealed that Saudi Arabia would host “The 6 Kings Slam” later in 2024 with the Spaniard joined by Novak Djokovic, Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune at an exhibition event.

World No 2 Alcaraz was asked about more events taking place in Saudi Arabia as well as Nadal’s move and replied: “It’s good for tennis to have more venues, to open up to countries where we go and play a little. Saudi Arabia is a country that is evolving very rapidly in every way, as a country and in the world of sports: there are many football events, boxing, now tennis…

“I think it’s good for sports in general. I don’t know how far we’ll go, but it’s evolving a lot.

“Regarding Rafa, it’s true that I’ve heard people say they’ve been criticising him, but in the end Rafa has decided to sign as an ambassador. I don’t think it’s bad, if I’m not mistaken, he’s signed as a tennis ambassador.

“It’s a country that is developing, opening up to the world of sports, and what better way than for Rafa to be the one who can expand the world of sports to places where it was never played before. We play and try to attract more people to play tennis, and there is no better person than Rafa to expand that world.”