‘SIGN ME UP’: Nick Kyrgios pledges to take Saudi money as he responds to Mail Sport’s report of a Middle Eastern nation targeting tennis with 10 dollar sign emojis
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Nick Kyrgios is ready and willing to accept millions offered by Saudi Arabia if they turn to tennis.
Mail Sport reported on Saturday that the head of the men’s tour, ATP Tour chairman Andrea Gaudenzi revealed he had held talks with the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund.
Responding to a discussion of the news on Twitter, Kyrgios replied in all caps, writing: ‘FINALLY. THEY SEE THE VALUE. WE WILL BE PAID WHAT WE DESERVE TO BE PAID. SIGN ME UP’ with 10 dollar-shaped emoticons.
Kyrgios, 28, has an estimated wealth of $18 million from his tennis career.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has already gobbled up golf, taken over Newcastle United, lured star footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema into their own domestic league amid reports of a bid of £16 billion to buy the rights to Formula One.
ATP-ranked No. 33 Nick Kyrgios is all for Saudi Arabia’s investment in professional tennis
Kyrgios, who is often outspoken, has earned an estimated $18 million from his tennis career
Last December, the pitch was laid with an array of the world’s best men playing in the Diriyah Cup, an exhibition tournament. Mail Sport reported on Saturday that in-game sources believe the biggest move could well come in the form of the ATP Finals moving to the Kingdom as well.
“You have to preserve something that is almost sacred, the rules of the game,” Gaudenzi told the Financial Times. ‘It’s not a video game.
“If you’re a golf fan, you want to see the best players compete. You want a simple ranking and story.
In May, Mail Sport announced that tennis’ NextGen Final, the year-end competition for the world’s top eight players under 21, was set to move to Jeddah, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
And just last week, world number one Carlos Alcaraz said he had ‘no doubt’ he would compete in Saudi Arabia at some point and said the country had the power to organize many tournaments.
“I’ve never played an official tournament there, and let’s see how it goes in the future,” he said after winning at Queen’s Club on Sunday. “But, well, I have no doubt that I will play there in the future.”
With Saudi Arabia having recently invested heavily in the sports world, it should be noted that the ATP does not claim ownership of any of the four Grand Slam tournaments, which includes the Australian Open, US Open, the French Open and Wimbledon.
The latter’s grounds are currently owned by the All England Lawn Tennis Club – a private club which organizes and organizes the annual tournament.
And while the disunity of tennis governance makes it ripe for the taking, the logistical issues of hosting a tennis event make it more complex than golf.
Critics have accused the PIF – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund – of being a way for the country to improve its reputation – ‘sportswashing’ – as it faces criticism over its record on human rights.
Saudi Arabia denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security through its laws.