EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia take first steps into investing in tennis, as Public Investment Fund hold talks with Tennis Australia over buying the United Cup – Maxsports
May 19, 2024

Maxsports

All Sports To The Max

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia take first steps into investing in tennis, as Public Investment Fund hold talks with Tennis Australia over buying the United Cup

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia take first steps into investing in tennis, as Public Investment Fund hold talks with Tennis Australia over buying the United Cup

  • Saudi Arabia have taken their first steps into investing in the tennis industry 
  • Mail Sport can reveal that talks are ongoing over the purchase of the United Cup 
  • The United Cup, held in Australia, is the first tennis event of the season 

Saudi Arabia have opened negotiations about buying into the United Cup, the first tennis event of the season which currently takes place in Australia, in what would be their first foray into the elite end of the sport. 

Mail Sport can reveal that representatives of the country’s Public Investment Fund held talks with Tennis Australia officials at Wimbledon last week about making an investment that would involve moving the joint ATP and WTA event to Saudi.

The United Cup took place for the first time in January in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney as a new mixed team event launched to provide competitive preparation for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year which is held later in the month. 

18 teams mixed teams featuring top players including Rafa Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatke competed for their countries in a replacement for the ATP Cup, which was axed after three years as it failed to attract decent crowds.

With a prize fund of £13million Tennis Australia are understood to have lost a significant amount of money hosting the inaugural event, which has triggered interest from Saudi. 

Saudi Arabia have begun discussions to buy The United Cup, which was won by the United States in January (Pictured L-R: Madison Keys, Taylor Fritz, Jessica Pegula, Frances Tiafoe)

Saudi Arabia have begun discussions to buy The United Cup, which was won by the United States in January (Pictured L-R: Madison Keys, Taylor Fritz, Jessica Pegula, Frances Tiafoe)

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the PIF Fund, has overseen investment into the football and golf industries prior to registering interest in tennis

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the PIF Fund, has overseen investment into the football and golf industries prior to registering interest in tennis

The tournament is understood to be particularly attractive to PIF as it is a showpiece event which opens the season featuring the world’s top players, and is run jointly by the ATP and WTA.

Saudi are already buying in to tennis’ NextGen finals, the end-of-year competition for the world’s eight best under-21 players which as Mail Sport reported in May is set to be moved to Jeddah, and the United Cup is seen as a way of giving them a foothold in both the men’s and women’s tour. 

Many of the world’s top men played an exhibit event in Saudi last December, the Diriyah Cup, but the United Cup would be their first tournament at which world ranking points are available.