The Riyadh Season Cup is a growing sports and entertainment festival that's been held in the capital of Saudi Arabia for a few years now. The first edition was in 2019, and since then, it's grown quite considerably to include several high-profile sports events.
This year's edition will feature several sporting events, including a WWE event, the final showdown of the Italian and Spanish Football Supercups, and a tennis event. The tennis event will be an exhibition held on December 26th and 27th, with a couple of really big names attending.
Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka will play at the event, as will Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. Those are some pretty big gets for the event, leaving tennis fans quite disappointed. Exhibitions in Saudi Arabia are nothing new, though, as we've seen them in the past few years with the Diriyah Tennis Cup, but having the top two names in ATP tennis and the WTA number one there means something.
Many players supported the country's willingness to stage events in the future, presumably because it would feature extraordinary payouts, which is what many players are after. It's purely business, but tennis fans, who have nothing to gain in that transaction, were appaled by the players accepting invitations.
The criticism comes because of the country’s human rights record and that’s why fans were disappointed. We do bring you some reactions of disappointed tennis fans below.
Lowest point in our sport’s history. Beyond tragic and getting worse. Shame on those pros. Really. Shameful.
Do not support sportswashing!!! Support human rights!!!
Women in Saudi Arabia are not even allowed to go and watch tennis without a male guardian, but yeah go play for the money.