Men’s professional tennis appears to be the next sport of interest for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
The PIF has already invested in golf, Formula 1, soccer and the WWE.
ATP Tour chair Andrea Gaudenzi told the Financial Times he’s had “positive” discussions with the PIF about potential investment.
New funding could spur innovations in media, data, and technology, per Gaudenzi, who pointed to the PIF’s deal with the PGA Tour — which like the ATP, operates alongside four major tournaments, creating fragmentation.
“You want to see the top players playing in the best events in the world,” Gaudenzi said.
No. 1-ranked Carlos Alcaraz said on Sunday he has “no doubts” he will eventually play pro tennis in Saudi Arabia after winning the Queen’s Club Championship on the road to Wimbledon next week. Alcaraz acknowledged the country’s “power to have a lot of tournaments.”
In December 2022, American Taylor Fritz defeated Daniil Medvedev in the second edition of the Diriyah Tennis Cup, earning the $1 million first-place prize at the three-day event in Saudi Arabia.
Last June, the WTA confirmed Saudi Arabia had reached out to the tour with interest in investing. But in March, the women’s tour announced a $150 million investment from CVC Capital partners.
Should the PIF work with the ATP, a high-profile tournament would likely end up in Saudi Arabia. The 2023 ATP calendar included February’s 500 series event in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a neighboring country of Saudi Arabia.