HomeTennis'Needing that Middle East Money Like..'- Rafael Nadal Faces Brutal Backlash from...

‘Needing that Middle East Money Like..’- Rafael Nadal Faces Brutal Backlash from Disgusted Tennis Fans After Sudden Saudi Arabia Announcement


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Spanish tennis legend, Rafael Nadal is appointed as Saudi Tennis Federation’s ambassador. Further, Nadal is also expected to open his Tennis Academy in Riyadh. As a part of this, he will also spend some time there each year to develop new talents. While it is a great opportunity for Middle Eastern tennis enthusiasts to indulge in high-class tennis training infrastructure, many fans aren’t happy.

Sharing the news about Nadal’s new initiative with the Tennis community community, a source shared on Twitter, “Rafael Nadal has been appointed an ambassador for Saudi Tennis, and is expected to open an Academy in Riyadh.” 

Rafael Nadal seemed very happy about it. He said, “Everywhere you look in Saudi Arabia, you can see growth and progress and I’m excited to be part of that, I continue to play tennis as I love the game. But beyond playing I want to help the sport grow far and wide across the world and in Saudi there is real potential.”


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This surprising announcement comes after Saudi Arabia hosted its first ATP Tour event called the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. It was held from November 28 to December 2, 2023. Clearly, Saudi’s investment in sports will not stop anytime soon. Apart from tennis, the country had also invested a lot in soccer, golf and other sports.

As reported by ‘The National News’, by driving Vision 2030 into action, the country has increased sports participation across men and women. It is close to 50%. Number of sports federations have tripled in the country and Saudi Tennis Federation is one such example. Then, why are Nadal’s fans unhappy?

Fans drop angry reactions over his decision to work with Saudi Arabia!

Social media users directly put forward a war of words for Nadal’s decision. On X (formerly Twitter) they seemed explicitly vocal about it. One fan commented- “Rafa (and team) needing that Middle East money like a man dying of thirst needs water. Gross.”

Fans expressed their disappointment. Sports in Saudi has been a point of contention for many. As per reports available, Saudi Arabia has spent about $6.3bn (£4.9bn) in sports deals since 2021. Many believe it is to avoid attention on human right issues in the country.

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Saudi has invested billions from its Public Investment Fund and this has completely changed golf and the international transfer market for soccer.

However, other social media users had different things to point. One fan commented about how the media was portraying it in Nadal’s favor because he is on the fraternity’s good list. They feel the case would have been otherwise for Djokovic. In a nutshell, the majority of his fans seemed visibly upset with the decision.

A person also made a Cristiano Ronaldo comparison as the soccer star is currently with Al Nassr.

However, talks about Saudi money did not stop. Rafael Nadal’s Saudi Arabian tennis venture will benefit many youngsters in Saudi. Since 2018, the country has seen more than 85 international events for both male and female athletes. This includes soccer, motorsports, tennis, golf, and boxing.


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When it comes to tennis, exhibition events have also been held. In December 2023, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz competed in the Riyadh Season Tennis Cup. Nole lost to Alcarez in Riyadh, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

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