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Martina Navratilova speaks at an event in Cancun, Mexico.

Martina Navratilova: “Saudi money will buy everybody eventually, it's just a matter of when, not if”

Former tennis player Martina Navratilova recently expressed her opinion that the tennis leadership will give in to the demands of financial giants Saudi Arabia sooner or later.

In the recent past, Saudi Arabia has made rigorous efforts to organize an ATP Masters 1000 event on its soil. It had also reportedly lodged a bid to host the 2023 WTA Finals, but the women's tennis body decided otherwise due to the country's strict laws on women and homosexuality.

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Navratilova, who has constantly worked for women's rights since retiring in 2006, has warned that Saudi Arabia's riches would eventually prove too good against the resistance.

"The money is enormous. I mean, Aramco (a state-owned petroleum and natural gas company in Saudi Arabia) posted like $34 billion profit in one quarter. So, it's hard to fight that kind of money. You know, I've spoken against sport washing, how countries are just buying these sporting events," Martina Navratilova said during a recent episode of the On With Kara Swisher podcast.
"Where do you draw the line? I don't know, but I do know that Saudi Arabia at the moment is not acceptable. I think it's, it's inevitable that the [Saudi] money will buy everybody eventually. It's just a matter of when, not if," she added.
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Navratilova also opined that neither the ATP nor WTA would commit before Saudi Arabia brings about significant changes in its official policies on women rights and homosexuality. She said:

"Don't give them the tournament until they prove that they are making changes. Women still cannot divorce a man in Saudi. Men can just say, 'I divorce you,' and they're done. And a woman has to come in front of a panel. The inequity there is very glaring, nevermind the horrible homosexual laws that still exist."
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Martina Navratilova on fighting for rights of homosexuals in Saudi Arabia: "It's a tough battle when religion comes into play"

Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova emphasized more on bringing women of Saudi Arabia on equal terms with the men. She said:

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"The women don't have equal rights to divorce as men do. Women is bigger than gay rights, obviously, because it's so much, it's half the population."

Navratilova, who is a lesbian herself, opined a fight for the rights of homosexuals in the Middle Eastern country would be a tough one, saying:

"The gay rights as well, I know it's a tough battle when religion comes into play, but people need to evolve on that issue. And, uh, it needs to happen sooner rather than later. And again, that needs to happen first before we go there."
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Edited by
Anantaajith Raghuraman
 
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