Nadal Hits Back At Criticism Over Saudi Arabian Tennis Ambassador Role

Nadal Hits Back At Criticism Over Saudi Arabian Tennis Ambassador Role

by Alex Waite

Rafael Nadal has spoken out about the intense criticism he faced after accepting an ambassadorial role for the Saudi Arabian Tennis Federation.

In January, Nadal officially announced his new role with the Saudi Tennis Federation. However, the 22-time Grand Slam champion was quickly inundated with negative comments.

Many of those comments criticized the Spaniard's decision to take a role, and others accused the 37-year-old of contributing to Saudi Arabian sportswashing.

After a month of criticism, Nadal shared his side of the story in an interview with Cadenaser. The veteran player denied that he is part of Saudi Arabian sportswashing but also said he understands people's viewpoints from the outside and that he accepted the role for monetary purposes.

"I don't think Saudi Arabia needs me to wash any images. It is a country that has opened up to the world and it is a country with great potential."

"Therefore, it is logical that the world is beginning to there and the feeling is that everything is bought with money and that now Rafa has also been sold to money. I understand that people think that they, of course they do."

However, in the same interview, Nadal took the opportunity to highlight some of the pros and cons of the increasing influence of Saudi Arabia in global sports.

The Spanish player stated that he would be willing to admit he was wrong to take the role if the nation did not continue to show progress regarding human rights issues and other values.

"Are things that need to be improved today [in the region]? Without a doubt. It is a country that is very late in many things, and has only recently opened up a bit.

"If the country does not achieve the evolution that I think it has to follow in the next 10-15 years, I will tell you that I was completely wrong.

"I think I'm going to have the freedom to work with the values that I think I have to work with and that are the right ones. If it doesn't happen, I'll tell you that I made a mistake.”


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