Nadal Named As Ambassador For Saudi Arabia's Tennis Federation

Nadal Named As Ambassador For Saudi Arabia's Tennis Federation

by Jordan Reynolds

Rafael Nadal may be absent from the Australian Open, but he is still making news, becoming an ambassador for Saudi Arabia's Tennis Federation.

Nadal is missing from the Australian Open with a slight muscle problem. The issue is in the same area as the hip injury he sustained at last year's Grand Slam in Melbourne, which kept him away from the sport for nearly a year.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion made his return from that injury in Brisbane, where he reached the quarterfinal, losing to Jordan Thompson. It was in the contest with the Australian that the muscle injury first appeared.

Encouragingly, a former British No. 1, Laura Robson, said that Spanish coaches have told her that Nadal plans to restart in Doha next month. Some, as Serena Williams's former coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, thought that Nadal would skip hard-court events, but that does not seem to be the case.

However, the 14-time French Open champion now has another role to keep him occupied. Nadal announced on his X page that he has become an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation.

Nadal's post was accompanied by a video of the Spaniard explaining his mission of wanting to support the kids in the country and helping to grow the sport of tennis around the world as a result of his influence.

"Growth and progress that’s important to see and the STF is working on that. In a recent visit I saw the interest in both aspects and I want to be part of that role of growing the sport of tennis around the world. The kids are looking to the future and I saw they are passionate about sports… I want to encourage them to pick up a racket and enjoy the benefits of a healthy living."

The two-time Australian Open winner's decision has already generated some strong reactions on social media. Some feel that Saudi Arabia's human rights record means that Nadal should not associate himself with the country.

However, others feel that Nadal is doing good work by trying to spread his influence and that he should not be criticized for something like that.

Regardless, Nadal has made his decision and will try to make more children in the country interested in tennis with his presence as an ambassador.

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