Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

Popular This Week

Net Notes - A Tennis Now Blog

Net Posts

Industry Insider - A Tennis Now Blog

Industry Insider

Second Serve - A Tennis Now Blog

Second Serve


By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, February 29, 2024

Stars shared varied views on the new partnership between the ATP and Public Investment Fund..
The Saudi-sponsored Public Investment Fund and ATP announced a multi-year partnership pact yesterday. 

More: James Blake Q&A

More: Richard Evans Q&A

A primary part of partnership sees the PIF becoming the official naming partner of the ATP Rankings, celebrating players’ jprogress across the season. The name change is evident on the new PIF ATP Rankings page.

The Year-End world No. 1, presented by PIF, will be crowned at the Nitto ATP Finals which will take place in Turin, Italy until 2025.

Defending Dubai champion Daniil Medvedev is optimistic the new partnership will infuse new money into tennis which can help grow the game.

"I think this is good for tennis," Medvedev told the media in Dubai. "It has nothing to do with Saudi, to be honest, because we love our sport.

"The more money we can attract from different companies or stuff like this, the more attention, PR, we can bring. As you said, it's going to be bigger than just sponsorship.

"I think if we can make tennis bigger as a sport, more interesting for people, have more coverage, just in general more people will know tennis, who tennis players are. Sometimes maybe you want to be less famous (smiling). But yeah, I think it's going to be good."

During the summer of 2022, the PGA Tour announced its plan to merge with Saudi-sponsored LIV Golf. It's the latest sports venture the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, has tapped in moves critics call "sport washing"—an attempt to obscure Saudi Arabia's human rights violations and connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks with high profile sporting investments.

Human Dignity Trust, an organization that "uses the law to defend the rights of LGBT people globally," has condemned Saudi Arabia for "criminalizing same-sex sexual activity between men and between women."

"Due to the opacity of Saudi Arabia law enforcement, it is not possible to provide accurate estimates of the number of arrests, prosecutions, and executions [of gay people]," Human Dignity Trust said in a statement. "There have been consistent reports of discrimination and violence being committed against LGBT people in recent years, including murder, assault, harassment, and the denial of basic rights and services."

Asked his view of the new pact, former world No. 1 Andy Murray says he's not sure exactly how the PIF investment will shape the sport, but advocates more money being applied toward grass-roots growth of tennis to get kids into the sport.

“I don’t know exactly what it means by sponsoring the events," Murray told the media in Dubai. "I don’t know what that will look like.

“One of my concerns is obviously actually more about the investment in lower levels of the game and the grassroots of the sport. I think that’s extremely important.”

In a press release announcing the partnership, the ATP and PIF touted their shared aim to "collaborate to elevate the long-term future of tennis. PIF will actively contribute to ATP’s OneVision Strategic Plan which focuses on driving unity, enhancing fan experiences and leveraging scalable growth opportunities across the sport."

"Our strategic partnership with PIF marks a major moment for tennis," Massimo Calvelli, ATP CEO, said "It's a shared commitment to propel the future of the sport.

"With PIF’s dedication to the next generation – fostering innovation and creating opportunities for all – the stage is set for a transformative new period of progress.”

Photo credit: Andy Cheung/Getty