ATP Tennis & Saudi Arabia – Drama, Rumours, and Recent Developments of 2023

If you’ve followed the ATP Tour in recent weeks, you’ll know that there’s a certain topic that has tennis fans divided. That’s right – the topic of Saudi Arabia ‘investing’ in the ATP Tour has been hot on the lips of both players and fans alike in recent times. In fact, many players have been asked directly for their views on the possible link between Saudi Arabia and the ATP Tour, and some have given quite strong answers. 

Guys like Andy Murray have previously said that he wouldn’t go and play in Saudi Arabia, period. Even high-profile players like Novak Djokovic haven’t exactly seemed pleased when asked about these developments in recent press conferences. But what is really going on here? Are there certain investors in Saudi Arabia that are looking to buy the ATP Tour? No. Yet are there negotiations taking place with regard to Saudi Arabia becoming much more involved with ATP tennis? Yes.

ATP Tennis Saudi Arabia

With this in mind, my objective here is to let you know exactly what is going on between the ATP and Saudi Arabia. By the end, you will have a clear picture of what is really taking place at the moment, and what this all means for the men’s game going forward. So without further ado, let me give you the scoop on this somewhat controversial topic.

All You Need to Know About Saudi Arabia and the Connection With the ATP Tour

Before I get into this topic and address the facts, I should state that there is plenty of misinformation out there regarding these developments. That’s exactly why I’ve chosen to give you a breakdown of the current state of play, which will help to avoid certain rumours spiraling out of control. So on that note, let me give you a full overview of the situation, first and foremost. 

After that, I can highlight why the topic has caused so much controversy already, while also showcasing the two key developments of 2023 so far. All of this information can be observed through the following sections.

Public Investment Fund Looking To Get Involved With ATP Tennis

Before I get into some other areas, as promised, it’s important that you have an overview of the situation. In short, Saudi Arabia has simply started to become more active concerning its involvement with men’s tennis. Through the nation’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), those in charge of where funds are allocated have looked at the ATP as a potential fruitful investment. This isn’t the only sport that the fund has looked at over the last 12 months, however.

You might recall the enormous controversy surrounding professional golf towards the end of 2022, and it seems that the PIF has embedded itself into the sport for the long run. Beyond that, the PIF also had a heavy influence over bringing Ronaldo to play in the top league. So clearly, the fund has great ambitions for getting involved with as many high-profile sports as possible. 

As for the current state of play, the Saudi Arabian fund managers have had numerous meetings with the ATP’s Chief. And already, there have been certain adaptations that have materialized because of these meetings, which I will get to next.

Caution Due to Friction Experienced With Saudi Investment in Other Sports

Before I cover the main developments, let me branch off from the information shared above to highlight the problem. Let’s be honest – there is a lot of money allocated in these investment pools, and this has given Saudi Arabia some serious leverage to bend certain sports to its will. Take golf as a prime example. Professional golf has always been synonymous with the PGA Tour, yet when LIV Golf (a Saudi-backed alternative) came around, there was so much money on offer that the two had to merge. 

Therefore, the fear is that if the ATP gives an opening to the Saudi Arabia PIF, the long-standing traditions, and history of ATP tennis could fade away. Of course, nobody knows whether these are the intentions of the PIF, but this is the main source of controversy. 

Recent Developments – Two Major Moves of 2023

Now it’s time for the facts. Firstly, Saudi Arabia has already had some success concerning their involvement with the ATP Tour. I say this because there are reputable reports out there that suggest that Saudi Arabia has secured the rights to host the Next Gen ATP Finals already. This would move the event to Saudi Arabia, of course. Yet secondly, and most recently, talks have been held in recent weeks for the PIF to buy the rights to host the United Cup.

This is the event that is usually held in Australia prior to the first Grand Slam of the year. And if this was to happen, Saudi Arabia would officially have the right to host their first professional tennis event for the seniors. 

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