Andy Murray

Andy Murray stands by Saudi Arabia stance

Andy Murray maintains he would never play tennis in Saudi Arabia.

The former world No.1 last summer revealed he turned down millions to play in the controversial Kingdom several years ago.

And after the high-profile merger between the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF)-launched LIV Golf and the PGA and DP World Tour on Tuesday, the two-time Wimbledon champion suggested he still condemns the nation’s human rights record.

Saudi Arabia have been accused of several sportswashing attempts after pumping huge amounts of money into golf, football – most notably Newcastle United – Formula One and boxing over the past few years.

Several high-profile sports stars have jumped at the opportunity to grab the nation’s cash but avid golfer Murray, 36, insists he would never follow suit.

The Scot, who advanced to quarter-finals of the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy on Wednesday, said: “I wouldn’t play [in Saudi Arabia], no.

“If I was one of the golfers who stuck with the PGA, I would probably be a bit frustrated and feel a bit let down.

“I guess there have been lots of different sporting events there over the last few years.

“There have been a lot of major boxing fights have been there, there’s the golf, I think there was a Formula One race there too.

“I would imagine it will only be a matter of time before we see tennis tournaments played there too.

“I saw it this morning, I don’t really know genuinely any of the details apart from the tweets I saw.

“I want to see a little bit more about what that means and what that looks like.”

Murray beat China’s Bu Yunchaokete in straight sets on Wednesday to book a quarter-final date at the first grass court event of the British season on Friday.

That that teed up an encounter with Australian Jason Kubler after he beat fellow Brit Ryan Peniston later on Wednesday afternoon.

Bu, 21, was competing in his first ever tournament on a grass court surface.

And three-time Grand Slam champion Murray was impressed his performance, adding:  “I saw him in the locker room afterwards, he said he had played a little bit as a junior, but it was his first time as a pro.

“He actually said it was his favourite surface to play on – he said he just really enjoys playing on it.

“He is very high energy and positive, he played over 100 matches last year which is pretty rare.

“I think he is going to be a good player.”

Murray won the first of his two Wimbledon titles in 2013, ending Britain’s seven-decade wait for a men’s champion with a straight-sets victory over Novak Djokovic.

He followed it up with his second triumph in 2016 but despite the historic nature of his 2013 win, the London Olympic champion still reckons his second glory stands out more.

He said: “My favourite was the 2016 Wimbledon probably, or the 2012 Olympics.

“I enjoyed both of them a lot more, 2013 Wimbledon I was obviously hugely relieved to have won it but I just didn’t enjoy it that much.

“I got yanked around in so many different directions after the match that I didn’t really get the chance to make the most of that.

“I also found the attention straight afterwards quite difficult as well.

“The pressure and stress took a lot out of me, I found it unbelievably stressful.

“I just didn’t enjoy it as much, whereas in 2016 I knew that if I was in that position again, I would make the most of it.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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