World No.1 Iga Swiatek has offered her thoughts on Rafael Nadal becoming a Saudi Tennis ambassador, admitting it is ‘not easy for women in these areas’.
Nadal has signed a multi-million dollar deal to be an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation as they look to increase their influence on the sport.
The 22-time major champion has faced criticism over the decision and many have accused Saudi Arabia of sportswashing given their poor human rights record.
Nadal was unable to play at the Australian Open this year due to injury but Swiatek was quizzed about the Spaniard after Tuesday’s win over Sofia Kenin.
‘I didn’t know that this is the case,’ Swiatek said about Nadal becoming a Saudi ambassador.
‘Well, I feel like it’s not black and white, everything that’s going on, in the sport. It’s hard for me to sum up in one sentence.
‘There were a lot of rumours about the WTA Finals going to Saudi. We’re still waiting for the decision.
‘It was always hard for me to say if it’s good or not because it’s not easy for women in these areas.
‘Obviously these countries also want to change and improve politically and sociologically. It’s not easy to decide.
‘Also in terms of many events that were held, there were rumours about sportswashing.
‘In my case, because I have nothing to do with Rafa and his decisions, it should be up to the federations and the governing bodies who decide if we’re going to play there or not.
‘If there would be some negative backlash, they should take the responsibility. For me it’s hard to straightforwardly go one way and say anything.
‘I didn’t even know about Rafa’s decision. Obviously men’s sport is already there in Saudi. I don’t know if it’s a good decision or not.’