Men's tennis allies with Saudi Arabia | Tennis | Sports


The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and the body that runs the men's world tennis circuit, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), announced this Wednesday a “multi-year strategic partnership” that, between the lines, comes to mean the definitive landing of racket sport in the country – where human rights are violated – and another step by the Saudi autocracy in the geostrategic plan that it has designed through sport. In January it was Rafael Nadal who announced an alliance with Saudi, as a sports ambassador, and now it is the ATP that confirms a link that aims to “accelerate the growth of world tennis”, as specified by both organizations in a joint statement that does not detail the duration or specific figures of the investment.

The agreement reached establishes that, from now on, the official name of the ranking It will be accompanied by the sponsorship of the PIF and that prestigious tournaments such as Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid (the three Masters 1000, the most important after the Grand Slams), Beijing (500) and the Masters Cup will also have the fund's initials — one of the largest in the world—as a promotional badge. So will the Next Gen ATP Finals, which will be held in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah until 2027, according to the statement. Likewise, the PIF will present the trophy to the number one at the end of the season and will actively contribute to the OneVision program, “ATP's strategic plan focused on promoting unity, improving the fan experience and taking advantage of growth opportunities. on the sport”.

In the statement issued this Wednesday, the general director of the ATP, the Italian Massimo Calvelli, assured that “the stage is set for a new transformative period of progress” and that the association “marks a key moment in tennis.” PIF brand director Mohamed Alsayyad added in the note: “Through our collaboration with the ATP, PIF will be a catalyst for growth on the global tennis scene, developing talent, fostering inclusion and driving sustainable innovation. This strategic agreement is part of our vision to improve the quality of life and lead the transformation of sport within Saudi Arabia and around the world.”

Saudi's plan, then, continues to take shape – golf, F1, football and competitions of various kinds – and has already officially set foot on tennis. Nadal's maneuver at the beginning of the year acted as a stiletto and now the male establishment takes another step. Meanwhile, the president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the American David Haggerty, has already stated on several occasions that his organization would also appreciate the economic injection from the Arab country – the announcement of the transfer of the Davis Cup Finals in 2022 It was suspended at the last minute – and the women's circuit will soon be added to the equation, if there is no last-minute twist. In the absence of official confirmation, the WTA will also agree amidst controversy.

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