Andy Murray points out 'hypocrites' as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal headline Saudi Arabia event

The former world No. 1 called out individuals who grumbled about the lengthy season but participated in exhibition events

By Web Desk
February 26, 2024
Murray expressed his disapproval of exhibition tournaments. - AFP

Britain Tennis star Andy Murray has asserted that certain players are "hypocritical" regarding the tennis schedule.

The former world No. 1 called out individuals who grumbled about the lengthy season but participated in exhibition events, pointing out that some were now occurring amid the calendar rather than during the off-season. One such event is the new Six Kings Slam in Saudi Arabia, scheduled for October, with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as the star attractions.

Murray expressed his disapproval of exhibition tournaments, acknowledging that some of his peers were contradicting their complaints by competing instead of taking a break. The three-time Grand Slam champion candidly shared his perspectives on various issues in the tennis world, with unofficial events being a significant topic of discussion.

“I don't know if I would want restrictions on exhibitions. I just think that sometimes the players are a little bit hypocritical [over] the tennis schedule, and it’s like the tennis schedule is too long, but then players are flying all over the world in the off-season to play exhibitions, and that's their choice,” he told The National.

Whilst Murray concurred that the sport required a lengthier off-season, he lamented those who asserted that the calendar was overly demanding but opted to participate in exhibitions when it was not obligatory. The global No. 67 further remarked: “But it just seems hypocritical because they don't have to play the exhibitions.

“And they don't have to play every tournament on the ATP Tour; they can decide not to come here [to Dubai] or they don't have to play Indian Wells. Yes, that might harm their ranking, but they can choose to miss those events.”

Although Murray didn’t want to see the end of the unofficial tournaments, he warned his rivals not to complain when they were going to fill their free time with exhibitions - especially those now taking place in the middle of regular ATP events. “And I wouldn't want to ban exhibitions,” he added.

“I would just ask the players to be a little bit more selective with how they talk about the tour and the schedule and everything when they're off playing exhibitions. And now there's going to be more in the middle of the season.”

Several new mid-season exhibitions have cropped up in recent years. The Ultimate Tennis Showdown recently concluded a tournament in Oslo and holds several editions of the event during the year before a ‘grand final’ in London. And Djokovic and Nadal will be part of the inaugural Six Kings Slam later this year.