'Protect Integrity': Djokovic Cautious About Saudi Arabia Entering Tennis

'Protect Integrity': Djokovic Cautious About Saudi Arabia Entering Tennis

by Evita Mueller

Novak Djokovic wants to preserve the integrity of tennis as he explained his thoughts on Saudi Arabia contacting the ATP and WTA for some talks.

News broke recently about Saudi Arabia holding talks with the ATP about possibly buying into the sport in the future. They have been investing in sports for a while now and it was only a matter of time before they turned their attention to tennis.

The ATP confirmed the talks while WTA Chief Steve Simon denied any talks though confirming that they were contacted. It's a complicated topic due to the bad human rights record that the country has with many branding their attempts to get into sports as sportswashing.

Many players were asked about their opinions and most of them seem okay with the move though Novak Djokovic advocated for a cautious approach. The Serbian was asked as one of the leading players on the ATP Tour as well as the co-founder of the PTPA and he gave his thoughts on the news, speaking ahead of the 2023 Wimbledon.

Well, I think the president of ATP and WTA are going to probably answer those questions better than I in terms of what strategically they think is the right move for tennis. I think personally was just question of time when they were to start some kind of negotiations or conversations in tennis to try to enter tennis.

They've done that with pretty much all other global sports, except maybe basketball. We see what's happening in football for the last few years, the stars that are going there for tremendous amounts of money. We know that Formula 1 is there, all the other sports, golf, et cetera. You mentioned golf.

Djokovic isn't necessarily against it because in the end that deal could work out well for tennis but for him, it's very important to preserve the integrity and tradition of the sport, keep the essential stuff in place so tennis remains the way everybody loves it.

I think that we as individual sport on a global level are probably closest to golf in terms of how we see sports. I think from that example we can probably learn a lot, some positives, some negatives, and try to structure a deal if it's going in that direction in a proper way that is going to protect the integrity and tradition and history of this sport, but still be able to grow it in such way that it will be appropriate.

It's the way the ATP approached the topic as the Chairman of the ATP explained that the Saudis would have to work with the ATP and existing shareholders on creating a direction forward.


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