ATP Tour announces Saudi Arabia ‘strategic partnership’

01 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
ATP Tour announces Saudi Arabia ‘strategic partnership’ The ATP has announced a “multi-year strategic partnership” with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund as the state increases its involvement in professional tennis

The ManicaPost


THE ATP has announced a “multi-year strategic partnership” with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund as the state increases its involvement in professional tennis.

The ATP rankings, plus the year-end world number one award, will be named after Saudi’s Public Investment Fund.

PIF on-court branding will be seen at some of the ATP Tour’s biggest events, starting at Indian Wells next month.

The value of PIF’s investment in the men’s tour has not been revealed.

“Our strategic partnership with PIF marks a major moment for tennis,” said ATP chief executive Massimo Calvelli.

“It’s a shared commitment to propel the future of the sport.”

PIF will also sponsor Tour events in Miami, Madrid and Beijing — part of the ATP 1000 circuit, the highest level beneath the Grand Slam events — as well as the season-ending ATP Finals.

Grass-court events held in the UK —including Queen’s and Eastbourne – were also offered an on-court sponsorship deal with PIF, but the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) turned the opportunity down in January.

Saudi Arabia has invested huge amounts of money into football, golf, Formula 1 and boxing in recent years.

The ATP already holds a professional event in Saudi Arabia after signing a five-year deal to host the Next Gen ATP Finals there last year, with the first edition held in Jeddah in November.

Several big-name stars have already played in lucrative exhibitions there, while a new event featuring Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and three other Grand Slam winners will take place in October.

Last month, 22-time major champion Nadal signed up as an ambassador for the Saudi Arabian Tennis Federation.

The partnership with the ATP could signal the start of further Saudi influence and investment, with PIF saying the move will be a “catalyst for growth of the global tennis landscape”.

Mohamed al-Sayyad, PIF’s head of corporate brand, believes it will also led to “developing talent, fostering inclusivity and driving sustainable innovation”.

The WTA, which is the governing body of the women’s tour, has drawn criticism for considering moving its season-ending finals to Saudi.

In January, tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert wrote an opinion piece outlining their opposition to the WTA Finals being held in Riyadh.

Saudi’s ambassador to the United States, Princess Reema bint Bandar al-Saud, responded by saying the pair have “turned their backs on women” by opposing WTA events in the Gulf state.

Princess Reema told the pair to “get your facts straight” on matters of Saudi law affecting women, adding their arguments were “based on outdated stereotypes and western-centric views of our culture”. — BBCsport.


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