Saudi Ambassador Responds To Evert And Navratilova's Views On Saudi-WTA Partnership

Saudi Ambassador Responds To Evert And Navratilova's Views On Saudi-WTA Partnership

by Jordan Reynolds

The Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the US has replied to Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova's opposition to the country being involved in women's tennis.

Evert and Navratilova are two of the biggest legends in the history of tennis. They both won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, and their rivalry in the 1970s and 1980s remains one of the most iconic in tennis history.

The two remain involved in the game and still generate attention. Navratilova did this when she compared Novak Djokovic's on-court behavior to John McEnroe during the recently concluded Australian Open.

However, even more scrutiny was created when Evert and Navratilova wrote a letter expressing opposition to the WTA Finals being in Saudi Arabia. This is due to their concern about the rights of women in the country.

No official decision has been made about Saudi Arabia hosting the WTA Finals, but the Saudi Ambassador to the US, Princess Reema Bandar Al Saud, still felt compelled to respond to the pair with some tough words.

"Like many women around the world, we looked to the legends of tennis as trailblazers and role models... glimmers of hope that women could really achieve it all. But these very same women have turned their back on the very same women that have inspired and it's beyond disappointing."

The Saudi ambassador then provided some facts about the recent developments in women's rights in the country, which she felt demonstrated why Evert and Navratilova were wrong.

"Today, Saudi women own more than 300,000 businesses and 25 per cent of small and mid-sized start up companies, which is about the same percentage as the United States. Women in Saudi now enjoy equal pay, leading the way towards something that should be universal."

In addition, the ambassador gave some statistics about the number of female athletes in Saudi Arabia to show their rise in the country over recent years.

"Today we not only have women's sport leagues and federations, we also have more than 330,000 registered female athletes, with 14,000 actively playing tennis."

The issue of Saudi Arabian involvement in tennis is a divisive one, and debates surrounding the topic will undoubtedly continue for a long time to come.


You may also like