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REVEALED: Murray turned down £1.5million to play in Saudi Arabia

Andy Murray turned down mega bucks


Andy Murray rejected the chance to play money-spinning exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia over concerns about human rights in the gulf state.

Organisers have offered tennis stars including Murray up to £1.5million to play in Saudi Arabia, which has stepped up its pursuit of top sporting events in recent years.

The events have been fiercely criticised by groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, however, for attempting to cleanse the nation’s reputation on the international stage, a practice described as ‘sports washing’

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia while woman’s rights also lag. Human Rights Watch also released a report last week on Saudi Arabia’s repression of critics.

Murray has long been an advocate of gay rights and women’s rights and his representative Matt Gentry said the Scot had no interest in playing in Saudi Arabia due to the country’s record on human rights.

‘He’s turned down stuff in Saudi; I don’t think he will play there just because of what’s gone on,’ Gentry told the podcast SportUnlocked.

‘If he feels strongly about something he will happily call it out. He’s not scared to voice his opinion.

‘They have done a few exhibition matches where they have paid eye-watering sums of money to get players over there and he just wasn’t interested.

READ ALSO ATP title: karatsev floors Andy Murray in Sydney

‘For turning up and playing a match, if you are a former No 1 player in the world, in the Middle East you could potentially earn $1 million to $2 million.

‘That’s for the top players, the big global names, and I think golf is pretty similar.’

Murray played his first ATP tour final in over two years on Saturday after reaching the showpiece of the Sydney Tennis Classic but the Scot was beaten in straight sets by Aslan Karatsev.

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