Former US Open winner criticises Saudi Arabia’s growing interest in tennis

The American won his only major in 2003

By Web Desk
February 08, 2024
Former American tennis star Andy Roddick. — AFP

Former American tennis star Andy Roddick criticised Saudi Arabia’s growing interest in Tennis on his Podcast.

Roddick, who won the 2003 US Open, revealed that he has doubts about the oil-rich country due to their discrimination against women, stance on homosexual people and other things.

"In Saudi Arabia, loving a person of the same gender is illegal. But we have players who have openly come out. Several players like Daria Kasatkina, to name one, have come out,” Roddick said.

“If there are tournaments in that country, what should we say to these players, who have to take a week off because of their coming out? How do we protect our players whose lifestyle choices are considered criminal when they enter that country?" explained Roddick.

Remember, Saudi Arabia made a significant move towards tennis. Following the establishment of the Next Gen ATP finals in Jeddah and a December exhibition event featuring Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur, and Novak Djokovic, the country announced a new major exhibition event scheduled for October 2024.

Named the "6 Kings Slam," this super exhibition will take place in Riyadh and feature six of the world's top players: Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner, Holger Rune, and Rafael Nadal. Among these players, only Sinner has not yet won a Slam title.

Details about the event are scarce, but it underscores Saudi Arabia's increasing commitment to tennis. The announcement was made by Turki Alalshikh, a prominent organizer known for arranging entertainment events in the Arab country, including sports.

For Sinner and Rune, this will mark their first appearance in Saudi Arabia, while Medvedev returns after participating in the 2019 Diriyah Tennis Cup. Many specifics about the event, such as duration, exact dates, and format, remain unknown, but it is expected to generate significant discussion, both positively and negatively.