Saudi Arabia could be the new host of the 2025 Billie Jean King Cup, according to a recent report by the British publication Daily Mail.
The Billie Jean King Cup is women's tennis premier team competition, and the 2023 Finals were held in Seville, Spain, where Canada won its first-ever title. It has been confirmed that this year's Finals will also take place in the same Andalusian city.
But Saudi Arabia, who were turned down from hosting the 2023 WTA Finals, have opened negotiations to stage the team event in 2025. The Gulf Kingdom has emerged as a sporting powerhouse in the 21st century thanks to its colossal spending not just on projects but buying out an entire sport.
Through its state-controlled sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia is aiming to diversify its economy from being oil-dependent and modernize it. So far, sports has been a viable venture with imminent and handsome returns.
Successes in football, golf, boxing, and motor racing have already set precedents, and the prospect of taking its aggressive spending spree into new projects is not waning. In fact, significant developments indicate Saudi Arabia will now try its hands on two major sports.
One of them is to host high-profile tennis tournaments by 2025. To foster ties, the ATP, which is the governing body of men's tennis, has been in constant communication with the oil-rich Gulf nation to broker any such deal. The chairman, Andrea Gaudenzi, is excited by the prospect of tapping into newer markets.
Additionally, staging the Next Gen ATP Finals this past season has been an encouraging first step. The ATP's flagship 21-and-under tournament will continue to be held in Jeddah for the next four seasons.
When Saudi Arabia's interest in tennis became concrete, the 2024 tennis calendar was already in the works, and tampering with it would have presented a complicated challenge.
As such, 2025 appears to be a very interesting year, with reputable sources claiming that a 10th Master tournament will be incorporated into the calendar and held in Saudi Arabia at the start of January.
It is not just men's tennis that Saudi Arabia has flagged as a possible avenue, but it is now exploring investing individually on both tours, including the WTA. And the Billie Jean King Cup might offer them a spring step to launch a new dawn of women's tennis in the region.