Saudi money creeps into tennis as Jeddah officially gets hosting rights for ATP Next Gen Finals for the next 5 years starting with a record $2,000,000 tournament

Saudi Arabia will host the ATP finals event.


Saudi money creeps into tennis as Jeddah officially gets hosting rights for ATP Next Gen Finals for the next 5 years starting with a record $2,000,000 tournament

Saudi Arabia will host the ATP finals event.(Image via: YouTube/Imago)

There have previously been rumors that an ATP tournament may take place in Saudi Arabia. It is now official that Jeddah will host the Next Gen ATP Finals of the men’s tennis tour through 2027. “The ATP Tour is truly global, and exploring new markets is central to growing the game. Bringing the Next Gen ATP Finals to Jeddah is our chance to inspire new fans in a region with a vast young population and unite audiences around tennis,” ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement.

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It is the first time an ATP final will be hosted in Saudi Arabia, and the top players under the age of 21 will compete. The World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and other top-ten-seeded players like Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Rudd are some of the names that could possibly be seen at this tournament. They have recently funded various grand-scale football, golf, Formula 1, and boxing contests. Even the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo of football joined them as a player.

Multiple cities from across the world were considered before Jeddah won the bid. The last five editions of the Next Gen ATP were held in Milan. The indoor hard court tournament will offer 40% more prize money than the previous year’s. The prize money for the event that will be held in November is $2 million.

Arij Mutabagani, president of the Saudi Tennis Federation, said his organization was “extremely proud” to be hosting the event and that “the Next Gen ATP Finals embodies the philosophy of our Federation, which is to inspire young talent to reach the sport’s highest levels“.

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The Subsequent Backlash

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Prince of Saudi Arabia (Credits: SkySports)

Many tennis fans are visibly upset at this development. Saudi Arabia has been condemned by the world for its abysmal human rights record. Many women advocating for their rights have been wrongfully imprisoned and killed.

The criminalization and prosecution of homosexuality are also very prominent in the country. Saudi Arabia also limits the use of free speech and punishes people with the death penalty. Many activists have called the human rights situation in the country “atrocious”.

Andy Murray was quoted as saying that he would not compete in any event there and had actually turned down various offers, including one that offered 1.5 million pounds to participate in exhibition events. However, he changed his stance in July this year by saying that he has not ruled out playing if events with ranking points are held in the country.

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The top-seeded Spaniard had said that he had “no doubts” that he would compete in Saudi Arabia at some point and also added that the country is capable of holding multiple powerful events.

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