Martina Navratilova doesn’t know where all the blowback came from.
After the tennis great spoke out against the sport setting its sights on Saudi Arabia, she was surprised to see fans on social media criticizing her for her opinion.
“Hard to believe I am getting crap for saying I would not go play tennis in Saudi Arabia. From all kinds of angles. WTAF???” she wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday.
Navratilova’s comments on Friday came after tennis journalist Jon Wertheim shared a text he received from her on Thursday that read: “I can tell you 100 percent if I were still playing, I would not be going [to Saudi Arabia] for the Championships.”
The 18-time Grand Slam champion is hardly the first tennis great to speak out against the Nextgen Finals moving to Saudi Arabia and a rumored move to the Gulf State for the WTA Finals as well.
Chris Evert also agreed with Navratilova when asked about it earlier this week, expressing confusion at the prospect.
“I didn’t read that. I don’t know … really?” Evert said. “I mean, for me, I would prefer not to go to Saudi Arabia to play the WTA Finals. Not that I’m going to go play, but for me, I would prefer the WTA not go to Saudi Arabia.
“Obviously they have the human rights issues and everything, just the way they treat women. I would be against it. But I don’t have a vote.”
John McEnroe also expressed discomfort with the idea that tennis was moving to a place with clear human rights violations, referencing the PGA tour’s recent merger with LIV Golf to call out the hypocrisy.
“It looked to me like the PGA were total hypocrites when they cut a deal after they’ve been fighting them, in my opinion,” McEnroe said.
“At the same time the people that are complaining about it, a lot of the people are hypocrites because our government does business with things along with tons of other hedge funds, wealth funds, down the list, people that have dealings.”
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