Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic ruffle feathers with Saudi match

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

However you feel about the Saudi Arabian government, one thing is absolutely true and that is they have a lot of money to spend. The government’s Public Investment Fund is involved with all kinds of sports and basically changed the way the business of golf is completed. Could that happen with tennis? One step toward changing the sport is to hold the kind of high-level one-off matches that Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play in late December.

A lot of tennis fans won’t be happy with the match taking place. There is no tournament attached to it and no ATP points are involved. Instead, this is a cash grab by Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic, yet those two players, especially Djokovic who has played a lot longer than the Spaniard, don’t need the money that badly.

The amount of money that the players will receive for participating in the event is not yet known. Some reports have Djokovic receiving around $1 million for showing up. That doesn’t seem that high, though, compared to a Saudi soccer team reportedly offering PSG’s Kylian Mbappe hundreds of millions of dollars to transfer there.

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic set to play a match in Saudi Arabia in December

While there might be a difference between a soccer team offering so much money versus the Saudi government paying tennis players to play in a one-time event, the origin of the money is likely the same. Many tennis fans might be turned off by the reported human rights violations of the Saudi Arabian government and Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic playing a match in the nation could be taken as a sign of endorsing any potential wrongdoing. As American football coach Nick Saban once said, “Whatever you tolerate, you encourage.”

Carlos Alcaraz versus Novak Djokovic isn’t the only match on the schedule, either. Top WTA players Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka will face off prior to the Alcaraz and Djokovic match.

Both matches will happen on December 27 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The arena has a capacity of 40,000. One can safely assume the arena will be sold out to watch the two tennis matches.

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