Saudi Arabia Reportedly Championing For Breakaway Super Tour In Tennis

Saudi Arabia Reportedly Championing For Breakaway Super Tour In Tennis

by Nurein Ahmed

A ground-breaking claim has emerged about Saudi Arabia's potential involvement in fostering a deal that could see the ATP and WTA tours lose out its controlling power over tennis tournaments.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly set to host a Masters 1000 tournament by 2025, which will act as a warm-up tournament before the Australian Open. The Gulf Kingdom has made its intentions clear that they're looking to inject an influx of cash into tennis following highly successful investments in other sports.

That move is likely to have significant repercussions on the tennis calendar, as it means it will overlap with ATP tournaments being held in Australia in the opening weeks of January, putting them at risk of being scrapped because of diminishing revenues from sponsors.

Most tennis players would instead flock to the Middle East to play in the Saudi Masters as a tune-up tournament, and, most importantly, have the chance to compete for astronomical prize money amounts.

As reported by Jon Wertheim in a tweet on X this past weekend, there are talks going on behind the scenes whereby the four Grand Slam tournaments, namely Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and US Open would "acquire" the 10 Masters tournaments, (the soon-to-be-introduced 10th Masters being held in Saudi soil).

The four major tournaments are not part of the ATP and WTA, although the two bodies are vested with a mandate to offer ranking points. However, this move would effectively mean the ATP, men's tennis governing body, would lose its majority controlling interest in Tour-level tournaments.

This would eventually leave it with just the ATP 500s, 250s, and year-end championships to run. The same case would apply to the WTA. Wertheim doesn't quite give detailed insights on whether Saudi Arabia is involved in any such deal.

But there have been reports of a merger between the ATP and WTA that took place at some point in September and which former World No. 3 Milos Raonic believes would create a "cohesive product" to sell to the PIF (Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund).


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