John McEnroe BRUTALLY condemns ATP Tour’s Saudi Arabia investment talks citing the backlash over the PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger

McEnroe raises concern as to why ATP wants to invest with Saudi's PIF.


John McEnroe BRUTALLY condemns ATP Tour’s Saudi Arabia investment talks citing the backlash over the PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger

John McEnroe (Image via Getty Images)

Last week, Andrea Guadenzi, the ATP men’s tour chairman, talked of a potential investment with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Funds (PIF) and claimed that he had ‘positive talks’ with the group. PIF can be considered a massive savings account for Saudi, and it heavily invests in projects benefitting the country. In other words, it can be said that it brings a lot of profit to the nation.

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The linking of ATP with PIF has raised multiple human rights concerns, especially after all the drama that PGA Tour and LIV’s merger are receiving. In recent weeks multiple reports from newspapers such as The Telegraph and The Daily Mail believe the country is the lead bidder to host the ATP Next Gen finals, an end-of-season event that features the eight best male players under the age of 21. Past winners include Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner.

This linking has been condemned firmly by Tennis legend John McEnroe. He stated in an interview that it’s quite comical for him that Tennis would like to invest with the Saudis after the whole debacle with the PGA and LIV merger. As per him, it is not something that the Tennis authorities should pursue.

 “I don’t know why the hell tennis would be like ‘let’s talk to the Saudis’ after the debacle you’re watching in golf. To me, it’s comical that it’s even being brought up right now. I don’t think it’s something we should pursue,” said the American.

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Along with McEnroe, 18 times grand slam champion Chris Evert has the same opinion and she believes that this is nothing but ‘sportswashing’ – a term that is used to refer to the practice of using sports to improve a country or organization’s image by investing in high-profile sporting events or teams.

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What is the case of the PGA Tour and LIV ‘merger’?

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Image via Golf

The recent merger of PGA Tour, a non-profit organization that organizes Golf tours in the United States and North America, and LIV (Roman numerals for 54), which is a Saudi Arabia-backed professional golf tour, has received a lot of backlash from everywhere.

As per CBS News, these backlashes are mostly from human rights activists and people who support the families who have been the victims of 9/11. There have been claims that this merger is a way for Saudi Arabia to improve its global image by using the PGA. The merger has been charged with claims of ‘sportswashing ‘.

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It must be noted that PGA Tour and LIV have been long-term rivals. So their merger appears to be rather odd. In an effort to resolve a long-running legal dispute, the two golf tournament organizers decided to unite without establishing financial terms. Earlier, LIV had filed an antitrust case against the PGA Tour in the United States, seeking punitive damages for “tortious interference” with golfer contracts. The PGA Tour filed a countersuit, making similar accusations, per a Reuters report.

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