From human rights abuses to the current concerns about the whereabouts of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia is a flashpoint.
Nevertheless, top guns Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have signed on for an exhibition Dec. 22 in Jeddah.
It will be Nadal’s first visit to that country.
Where sports and reality intersect, these two will definitely get their share of criticism for playing there, interpreted as supporting – or at least not repudiating – the country’s practices.
The only possible motivation could be huge bucks.
Which the two obviously don’t need.
Boris Becker’s strategy to have the British bankruptcy proceedings against him delayed or stayed by claiming diplomatic immunity has run into a major road block.
According to Cherubin Moroubama, chief of staff of the Central African Republic’s foreign ministy, Becker’s diplomatic passport is … a fake.
Moroubama told Agence France-Presse that the passport’s serial number is one among a batch of passports stolen back in 2014. He added that the passport contains neither the signature nor the stamp of the foreign minister.
“Attaché for Sports/Humanitarian/Cultural Affairs”
The fellow above, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, is the president of the Central African Republic.
Agence France-Presse saw a copy of the passport, which is dated March 19, 2018.
No such job
Last week, Becker’s lawyers filed a claim in London saying his freshly-minted diplomatic status granted him immunity from bankruptcy. Definitely an original strategy. But, it seems, one that might not be successful.
“Becker’s job profile does not exist” in the CAR’s records, Moroubama told AFP.
As well, the passport states that Becker’s diplomatic function is “financial chargé de mission” – unrelated to sport.
A “chargé de mission” roughly translates to “liaison officer”, a job that would theoretically involve establishing financial ties between the Central African Republic and other countries.
No doubt many more chapters to come on this one.
France’s Gilles Simon has gotten ahead of the curve on the off-season game of musical chairs.
The struggling 32-year-old told Agence France-Presse he has sent his entire team packing: coach Jan de Witt, mental coach Ronan Lafaix and physical trainer Milos Jelisavcic.
He said it’s his problem, not their problem. “I have a few things to rectify but they concern only me, it’s very personal,” he said. “The important thing to clear my head.”
The Frenchman still has Shanghai, Vienna and Paris before his season ends.
DeWitt is currently on a trial with Canadian Vasek Pospisil in Asia.