Caroline Wozniacki mentioned on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia will inevitably host extra tennis tournaments however believes there is a chance to push for constructive change after Rafael Nadal turned ambassador for the nation.
The Grand Slam winner’s feedback got here after world champion Iga Swiatek mentioned the problem was not “black and white”.
The powerbrokers of girls’s soccer are questioning whether or not they may convey the season-ending WTA Finals to the Gulf state.
“I have never learn a lot about Rafa and what he does, but it surely’s clear that Saudi Arabia is coming into sports activities in a really sturdy manner. I feel in golf in addition to soccer and now tennis,” mentioned Danish Wozniacki, who then making a comeback with two youngsters, mentioned in Melbourne.
“I feel it is inevitable that that is going to occur, and I feel if that occurs, we’ve got a chance to make a change and do one thing good there.”
Nadal was appointed ambassador of the Saudi Tennis Federation on Monday as the dominion appears to host extra skilled tournaments as a part of a wider sporting push.
“In every single place you look in Saudi Arabia you see progress and progress and I am excited to be a part of that,” mentioned the 37-year-old Spaniard, winner of twenty-two Grand Slams.
Sports activities are a key a part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Imaginative and prescient 2030 reform agenda, which goals to rework Saudi Arabia right into a tourism and enterprise hub whereas shifting the world’s largest crude oil exporter away from fossil fuels.
However the nation has been accused by critics of utilizing sport to spice up its worldwide fame, with widespread criticism of its human rights and environmental file.
“I understand clearly, you understand, human rights and every thing else,” Wozniacki mentioned.
“However I feel if it is inevitable that they will put that a lot cash into the game, I feel for those who get into that state of affairs, possibly you may change, you can also make a change and you are able to do one thing constructive.”
– No resolution –
Swiatek mentioned the problem was not clear.
“There have been loads of rumors that the WTA Finals would go to Saudi Arabia. We’re nonetheless ready for the choice,” she mentioned on the Australian Open.
“It was at all times tough for me to say whether or not it’s good or not, as a result of it isn’t straightforward for girls in these areas. It’s clear that these nations additionally wish to change and enhance politically and sociologically. It isn’t straightforward to determine .”
With a call on the WTA Finals pending, Sports activities Illustrated reported on Wednesday that tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert had despatched a letter to WTA chief Steve Simon, urging him to keep away from Saudi Arabia.
“Not solely is that this a rustic the place ladies usually are not seen as equal, it’s a nation that criminalizes the LGBTQ neighborhood,” the journal mentioned.
“(It’s) a rustic whose long-term efficiency on human rights and basic freedoms has been a matter of worldwide concern for many years.
“Bringing the WTA remaining to Saudi Arabia could be a big step backwards on the expense of the WTA, ladies’s sport and ladies.”
The WTA, the governing physique for girls’s tennis, mentioned in an announcement to AFP that it was “in discussions with numerous teams across the 2024 WTA Finals and past and no choices have been made right now.”
“As with all WTA choices, we’re working intently with gamers and centered on persevering with to construct a robust future for girls’s tennis,” it added.