Judy Murray the latest to be accused of accepting ‘sportswashing role in Saudi Arabia’
Judy Murray has become the latest tennis personality to come under fire for agreeing to be part of a controversial exhibition event in Saudi Arabia.
Diriyah Tennis Cup organiseres announced earlier this week that former Great Britain Billie Jean King Cup captain Murray, the mother of Grand Slam champions Jamie and Andy, has taken up a role to help inspire young girls and women to take up the sport during the event.
It was announced that she “will provide masterclasses for aspiring coaches and volunteers, as well as taster sessions for girls and women” during the tournament, which runs from December 8-10
In a statement Murray said: “I am particularly keen to ensure girls and women are given an equal opportunity to enjoy and experience tennis, whether for fun, for fitness or for friendship. Tennis enables all of that and while it is a global sport that has produced some of the greatest sportspeople of our time, it is also, at the same time, a community where everyone can connect.
“That is the message I have relayed throughout my time as a coach and as a champion for workforce development: we need to remove barriers to participation but also to ensure we can sustain growth in participation and ensure that the community can unite to showcase how special tennis can be, regardless of age, gender or ability.”
However, human rights organisation Amnesty International has criticised the Scot for accepting the role as Saudi Arabia has been accused of sport to hide human rights violations in the country through “sportswashing”.
An Amnesty International spokesperson said: “While promoting women’s sport in a country which has long stifled women and girls’ human rights is a positive thing, it is important that Judy Murray should realise she’s being asked to perform a sportswashing role in Saudi Arabia.
“We encourage Judy Murray, as we would other attendees at the Diriyah Tennis Cup, to use the opportunity to speak out and show solidarity with those who are being persecuted in Saudi Arabia’s relentless crackdown on human rights.”
Murray’s decision is in stark contrast to her son Andy, who had admitted that he turned down a big money offer to play in Saudi Arabia.
British No 1 Cameron Norrie has also been condemned over his decision to sign up in the tournament alongside Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka.
Zverev came under from fire as he was accused of “making himself the puppet of Saudi oil billionaires”.
Serena Williams welcomes Tom Brady to ‘retirement world again’ as she opens up about her final match ‘regret’
“Sad to see you go,” Serena Williams told Tom Brady.
Elina Svitolina urges IOC to ‘stick to banning Russian and Belarusian athletes’ for Paris 2024 Olympics
Elina Svitolina wants a united front when it comes to sanctions imposed against Russia and Belarus.
Marion Bartoli latest to criticise Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov – ‘I just can’t take that any more’
Marion Bartoli basing her opinion on Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov on incidents she witnessed herself.
Australian Open viewing figures need context amid Novak Djokovic snipes
TV viewing figures for Australian Open may appear to be disappointing, yet raw figures only reveal part of the story.
Nick Kyrgios on crutches as his manager gives fitness update
Everyone is “really, really pleased” with Nick Kyrgios’ recovery.
Iga Swiatek’s 2023 tennis schedule: Where is she competing next and her season so far…
A look at Iga Swiatek’s possible tournaments for the 2023 season.
Carlos Alcaraz’s 2023 tennis schedule: Where is he competing next and his season so far…
Carlos Alcaraz’s confirmed and unconfirmed events for the 2023 tennis season.
‘Remarkable’ Novak Djokovic won Australian Open with ‘three-centimetre tear in his hammy’
Australian Open boss gives more detail about Novak Djokovic’s injury.
Novak Djokovic’s ‘game undoubtedly the most complete on the Tour’, says Toni Nadal
“What the Serbian player has achieved is as amazing as it is admirable.”
Alexander Zverev breaks silence after ATP’s ruling on domestic abuse case – ‘Justice has prevailed’
“I am grateful that this is finally resolved,” says Alexander Zverev.