Andy Murray - 'I wouldn't play in Saudi Arabia' admits Wimbledon star on eve of tournament
The British tennis star and three-time grand slam champion discussed the possibility of playing in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, as he prepares for his first round game against Australia's James Duckworth at Wimbledon.
The former Wimbledon champion revealed he had already been given an offer by the country previously – an offer which he, and other big name tennis stars, reportedly turned down.
As reported in The Telegraph, there had been interest from the Asian country in hosting a tennis tournament, and the British tennis hero was asked on his thoughts on taking part after recent controversy that had surrounded golf following the introduction of the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
Professional golf has found itself a subject of controversy in recent weeks after the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tournament drew criticism from numerous quarters, with many high profile professionals golfers citing their concerns over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The confirmation of the competition immediately began a feud with the PGA Tour which ended in many of golf’s biggest names – such as former US Open champions Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Bryson DeChambeau - being permanently banned from the tour and fined £100,000 each.
And while Saudi Arabia has already hosted exhibition tennis events, such as the Diriyah Tennis Cup in 2019, Murray has confirmed to fans he will play no part in any exhibition tournaments played in the country, adding he had already turned down an offer from the country to play there.
"They put on an event in Saudi Arabia a few years ago and I was offered to play there,' Murray told a news conference on Saturday.
“I know a number of the other guys on the tour were offered to play there,” he added. “A lot of the top players turned it down. I wouldn't go and play there.”
The 35-year-old, who was knighted in 2019, begins his Wimbledon campaign today, with Murray’s opening game set to begin on centre court at 4:45pm.