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Tennis joins the ranks of global events in Saudi Arabia

Bynewshuntexpress

Aug 25, 2023

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Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia is set to become a new destination for international tennis, as the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) announced that the city of Jeddah has won the bid to host the finals of the Next Generation of Professional Tennis Players Championship for the next five years.

The Next Gen ATP Finals will take place from the current year, 2023, until 2027. The first finals will span five days and will be organized by the Ministry of Sports in partnership with the Saudi Tennis Federation, from November 28 to December 2.

The indoor hard courts at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah will host the finals, featuring the world’s top eight players under the age of 21. This sixth edition of the finals follows the success of five previous editions held in Milan, Italy, where nine out of the top 10 current world-ranked players participated, including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner, and Carlos Alcaraz. This championship has marked a stepping stone toward stardom for many players.

Tennis in the Kingdom is undergoing a significant transformation in line with Saudi Vision 2030 goals. The objectives include raising awareness, promoting interest among enthusiastic Saudi youth, and increasing the number of hosting events in various sports, particularly tennis, positioning the country as a hub for major international sporting events.

Areej Mutabagani, Chairwoman of the Saudi Tennis Federation, expressed her pride in Jeddah being selected to host this significant sports event. She emphasized the substantial support from leadership and the Ministry of Sports, which has turned Saudi Arabia into a host for major global tournaments across various sports.

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, noted that hosting the Next Generation finals in Jeddah presents an opportunity to inspire new fans in a region where a large number of youth and sports enthusiasts reside.

The prize money for the championship will increase to two million dollars, breaking the previous record of $1.4 million awarded in last year’s event held in Milan since its inception in 2017.

The evaluation process for potential host cities began in March, with King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah being chosen as the venue for the championship to take place between November 28 and December 2. Other Arab countries, including Qatar and the UAE, have also hosted professional tennis events.

The Saudi sports scene has also invested in other sports like football, attracting European stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and N’Golo Kanté. The country has invested in events like Formula 1, boxing, the Dakar Rally, and international equestrian competitions.

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