TENNIS is about to sell its soul to the Saudis – and Nick Kyrgios is loving it.

Kyrgios shared his excitement that tennis stars will soon “get paid what they deserve” as tennis officials began weighing up a big money deal from Saudi Arabia.

“Finally. They see the value. We are going to get paid what we deserve to get paid. Sign me up,” the man who has not played a match in five months said.

So what’s your worth Nick? Your worth is what fans will pay to watch you. What fans will pay to watch your unsportsmanlike behaviour – and what broadcasters will pay to televise or stream tournaments and matches.

Already you are a millionaire – yet you have won nothing of significance.

But you want more. And from a sportwashing country like Saudi that disregards basic human rights.

After all Kyrgios’ grandstanding on that matter – the next word has to be ‘hypocrite’.

Because, this is Saudi government money – the same fund that owns a Premier League soccer club and pumps millions into F1 racing.

The ATP admitted last week that “positive” discussions had taken place with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

Seven-figure appearance fees could be offered to top players for a new ATP Tour event in the middle east, where the Next Gen Finals, an ATP season-ending event for players aged 21 and under, will move to Jeddah from Milan as part of a new five-year deal.

While Kyrgios, and even world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, indicated they would play in Saudi, Andy Murray said he wouldn’t.

“I wouldn’t play, no,” Murray said last month. “I would imagine it will only be a matter of time before we see tennis tournaments played there.”

But, no doubt, as in the case of Kyrgios, greed will win out.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

AUSTRALIAN Open chief Craig Tiley is confident the sport won’t be divided like golf by the Saudi offer.

“What’s different to what we’re seeing (in other sports) is this is an investment in the current structure of the game and not an investment in an alternative option,” Tiley said.

“But like everything in the world, there’s lots of changes always going on.

“So you’ve got to watch what’s going on and stay close to it.

“But, ultimately, that’s a decision for the men’s and the women’s tour.”

Just to remind you, tennis has seven different governing bodies: the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the US Open, the ITF, ATP and WTA.

John McEnroe is not in favour of Saudi investment in tennis. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos

TENNIS legend John McEnroe says the sport should not seek Saudi investment, calling golf’s PGA Tour hypocritical after it reached an agreement with the Gulf state’s sovereign-wealth fund.

Last month the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and rival LIV circuit, which previously was involved in a battle that divided golf, announced a merger to form a unified entity.

The new ”entity’ will be significantly funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

“It looked to me like the PGA were total hypocrites when they cut a deal after they’ve been fighting them,” McEnroe told ESPN.

The chairman of the ATP Tour, Andrea Gaudenzi, told the Financial Times last week he has held discussions with PIF and other potential investors on projects including infrastructure, events and technology investment.

Critics have accused Saudi Arabia of using high-profile investments to engage in ‘sportwashing’ in the face of heavy criticism of the country’s human rights record.

The 64-year-old McEnroe said he was not surprised by Saudi interest in a possible investment in tennis, as the country has been spending heavily in other sports.

“What about (Cristiano) Ronaldo? He’s being paid a couple of hundred million a year,” he said.

“They have been buying players in other sports, brought boxing fights, you name it.

“I wouldn’t encourage it, the Saudi thing.

“I’m not surprised that tennis is being thrown into the mix after what we saw in golf.”

American Reilly Opelka wants less events for the same earnings to combat global warming.
Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

MORE politics meddling in sport.

The unelected UN Sports for Climate Action initiative (run by politicians and not scientists) wants sports organisations to achieve this bizarre net zero rating by 2040.

We guess that’s just in those western ‘democracies’ where climate change has become a religion.

Try China, where they are building coal fired power stations by the dozen, and India.

The ATP recently announced its launch of the Carbon Tracker app, which is currently being used by some ATP players, including Dominic Thiem, Cameron Norrie, Andrey Rublev, and Emil Ruusuvuori.

But some think this is not enough, yet still want to earn millions from the game.

Around 250 events take place each year in 50 different countries.

American Reilly Opelka thinks this is too much of an environmental impact, as well as a psychological and physical drain on some players.

But he fails to understand that planet earth is not dying and players are not forced to play at any event.

And how does he equate a single figure carbon emission number (those countries he can influence) against the vast majority he can’t (China for example)?

So what to do? Cancel all events and operate an online virtual tour?

But still wanting to earn the millions on offer in prizemoney?

Opelka called the ATP initiative a PR stunt. And his response isn’t?

Jan Kodes beat Russia’s Alex Metreveli in three sets

IT was 50 years ago Wimbledon almost never happened after a dispute which saw 81 male players boycott the tournament.

Stars of the time, including defending champion Stan Smith, Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe and Ken Rosewall turned their backs on the event.

At the time time it was a ‘huge’ event. And it can still be regarded as that.

A battle between players who had turned pro and the then amateur administration.

That battle came to head when Yugoslavian player Nikki Pilic was banned by his country’s tennis federation for refusing to play in a Davis Cup match.

The new body, the ATP, threatened to boycott Wimbledon in support of one of its members, unless the ban was lifted.

The ATP had some big hitters: Smith Ashe, Brit Mark Cox and chief executive Jack Kramer and president Cliff Drysdale.

And they met at the Westbury Hotel in London’s swanky Mayfair to vote on a boycott, the day before the Wimbledon draw was due to be made.

The mood was mutinous and the ATP was split.

Three, including Cox and Smith, voted to stick with Wimbledon but Ashe, McManus and Kramer voted for a boycott.

The president, Drysdale, had the casting vote – and he abstained – attempting to avoid an issue that could see the end of the ATP if he voted not to boycott.

By abstaining the vote was 3-3 and under ATP rules the motion was carried.

The decision to boycott was then phoned through to referee Captain Mike Gibson.

And Gibson has to rip up the draw as 81 – yes 81 – players had just quit.

Good guys, bad guys, the media had a feast, playing the blame game as Wimbledon struggled to put together a new field.

Eventually a new list comprising of mainly eastern Europeans, was put together.

Why Eastern Europeans? Their federations did not allow their players to professional and ATP members.

One young player’s name added to the list was an unknown Swede called Bjorn Borg, 17, and not yet contracted.

Britain’s Roger Taylor reached the semi-finals.

Three ATP members broke ranks; British No.1 Roger Taylor, Romanian Ilie Nastase and Australian Ray Kelbie, for different reasons, one they simply could not afford not to play.

Taylor was British tennis’ big hope.

His dad was a staunch Yorkshire union man and didn’t want his son to break the Kline, but the media was urging him to play.

He played and lost in the semi-finals and by all accounts was given the cold shoulder in the locker room.

And who won? Czech Jan Kodes beat Russia’s Alex Metreveli in three sets for the title.

ANDY Murray has stepped into Wimbledon poster row, branding it “strange” after members of his own family shad called out his non-appearance as “appalling”.

The poster, as we revealed last week, had Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz ahead of some of tennis’ greatest ever players, but no Murray.

Murray’s uncle Niall Erskine and his brother Jamie both criticised the poster for excluding the 36-year-old.

Erskine, the brother of Murray’s mum Judy, said on Twitter: “Appalling at every level, all about the men in the forefront and your own British history maker nowhere to be seen. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

WIMBLEDON fact: World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, at 20, has only ever seen four winners of the men’s singles title in his lifetime. Yes, just four. Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic.

Katie Boulter in the arms of her mum Sue.

AT 26 Katie Boulter has left it a bit late to become Britain’s new No. 1.

But Boulter come from a long lineage of tennis players, grandmother Jill Gartshore was a student at Queen Mary’s College in London, where she won the Inter Universities Athletic Board’s women’s doubles Championships, and mum Sue was a junior British international.

BACK to Nick Kyrgios, who has been pushing himself hard in training at Wimbledon the past few days in the hope he can make a deep run at this year’s tournament.

The Australian was beaten in four sets by Novak Djokovic in last year’s final.

But his appearance at the All England Club this year is still in doubt after he pulled out of the Halle Open and Mallorca Open with a knee injury.

The 28-year-old was spotted practicing at Wimbledon on Wednesday – but remember, he has played only one match this year after undergoing surgery to address the injury that ruled him out of the Australian Open in January.

AND finally …

FORMER World No.1 Venus Williams has also been training hard for Wimbledon, but there’s a new look to Venus this year.

Wiliams went on social media to show off a new hair style.

“Pink hair don’t care,” she captioned her Instagram post, flaunting pink hair.