Sports Politika
Sports Politika
Decoding Saudi's tennis playbook (with Jon Wertheim)

Decoding Saudi's tennis playbook (with Jon Wertheim)

Renowned sports journalist and TV correspondent Jon Wertheim joins Sports Politika to discuss the evolution of Saudi Arabia's sports strategy.
Jon Wertheim speaking with Saudi Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Saud (Screenshot from CBS 60 mins episode)

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Over the past eight years, Saudi Arabia's sports strategy has transformed from a simple reputation management tool to a comprehensive soft power plan encompassing regional diplomacy, economic diversification, global impact, and a continuous stream of entertainment for the nation's youth. From encroachments into combat sports, racing, golf and tennis to becoming the sole bidder for the 2034 World Cup, there is no stone that the kingdom has left unturned in its quest to become a global sports powerhouse.

To discuss the evolution of Saudi’s sports gambit, I spoke with Jon Wertheim, the executive editor of Sports Illustrated, where he has worked for the better part of the last three decades covering everything from tennis to combat sports. Jon is also an analyst for The Tennis Channel during the Grand Slams and is a correspondent on CBS’ acclaimed 60 minutes program.

Last year, Jon traveled to Saudi Arabia to examine the topic of sportswashing in the kingdom for an episode of 60 Minutes. One of the segments included an interview with Saudi Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Saud, who naturally denied that his country was attempting to launder its reputation.

You can watch the entire episode here.

I spoke to Jon about his fascinating trip, as well as the kingdom’s recent foray into the world of tennis. His analysis is sharp, astute and is an important contribution to one of the most important—and developing—sports stories of this generation.

Happy listening.

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Sports Politika
Sports Politika
A podcast that delves into the intricate world of sports, power and politics.