Andy Murray calls out ‘hypocrites’ as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal headline Saudi event | Tennis | Sport

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Andy Murray calls out ‘hypocrites’ as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal headline Saudi event | Tennis | Sport

Andy Murray has claimed that some players are “hypocritical” over the tennis schedule. The former world No. 1 called out those who complained about the long season but played exhibition events, noting that some were now taking place in the middle of the calendar instead of the off-season. One of those, the new Six Kings Slam in Saudi Arabia, will take place in October with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal headlining the lucrative event.

Murray made his feelings clear about exhibition tournaments as he admitted that some of his rivals were going back on their complaints by competing instead of taking time off. The three-time Grand Slam champion shared his thoughts on a series of issues in the tennis world, and the unofficial events were a big talking point.

“I don’t know if I would want restrictions on exhibitions. I just think that sometimes the players are a little bit hypocritical [over] the tennis schedule, and it’s like the tennis schedule is too long, but then players are flying all over the world in the off-season to play exhibitions, and that’s their choice,” he told The National.

While Murray agreed that the sport needed a longer off-season, he bemoaned those who claimed the calendar was too demanding yet chose to compete in exhibitions when they weren’t required. The world No. 67 continued: “But it just seems hypocritical because they don’t have to play the exhibitions.

“And they don’t have to play every tournament on the ATP Tour; they can decide not to come here [to Dubai] or they don’t have to play Indian Wells. Yes, that might harm their ranking, but they can choose to miss those events.”

Although Murray didn’t want to see the end of the unofficial tournaments, he warned his rivals not to complain when they were going to fill their free time with exhibitions – especially those now taking place in the middle of regular ATP events. “And I wouldn’t want to ban exhibitions,” he added.

“I would just ask the players to be a little bit more selective with how they talk about the tour and the schedule and everything when they’re off playing exhibitions. And now there’s going to be more in the middle of the season.”

Several new mid-season exhibitions have cropped up in recent years. The Ultimate Tennis Showdown recently concluded a tournament in Oslo and holds several editions of the event during the year before a ‘grand final’ in London. And Djokovic and Nadal will be part of the inaugural Six Kings Slam later this year.

Along with Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune, they will contest the new exhibition event in Riyadh in October. The tournament was originally set to take place in February before last-minute changes were made when Nadal got injured.

There are already multiple events in the ATP schedule in October – two Masters 1000s in Shanghai and Paris, two ATP 500s and two ATP 250s. It means that Djokovic, Nadal and co would have to skip a regular tournament to compete in the Saudi exhibition.

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