Ons Jabeur signs new deal with Saudi fitness brand Kayanee

Tunisian star will wear exclusive tennis line designed for her

Ons Jabeur has signed a sponsorship deal with Saudi fitness and wellness brand Kayanee. Photo: Ons Jabeur
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Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur has signed a new sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabia's PIF-owned fitness and wellness brand Kayanee.

Jabeur, who had been with Lotto Sport Italia for nearly a decade, will now be wearing an exclusive tennis line designed for her by Kayanee, an integrated company established by the PIF last year with the goal of promoting quality of life for women.

Chaired by Princess Reema Bandar Al Saud, Kayanee aims to focus on future generations’ health and lifestyle through fitness, sportswear, and personal and therapeutic care, as well as nutrition, diagnostics and wellness education.

“Ons Jabeur is not only a phenomenal athlete but also a symbol of resilience and determination,” said Princess Reema in a statement.

“We are honoured to have her as our global athletic ambassador. This collaboration is not just about fitness; it’s about inspiring young women to pursue their dreams and seek their own place on an international playing field.”

Jabeur recently took part in the first ever women’s professional tennis match to be staged in Saudi Arabia, squaring off with Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka in a sold-out exhibition in Riyadh.

The Tunisian former world No 2 has been a strong proponent of Saudi Arabia’s potential involvement with the WTA, and is keen on playing a role in bringing tennis to the kingdom.

“It’s a country I want to discover more and hopefully bring tennis more there,” Jabeur told The National at the end of last year.

“Hopefully (the WTA goes there). Of course I’m one of the players that will push to go there. I feel this country deserves a chance to have sports events; they started of course with football and now I feel like tennis could be there. It’s not about the money, for me it’s about giving a chance to younger women, or any women to practice sports and discover amazing things.”

The five-year deal signed with Kayanee marks an unprecedented move in the world of professional tennis apparel, as Jabeur becomes the first player outfitted by a Saudi brand.

“I am thrilled to be part of Kayanee, a brand breaking new ground for women in Saudi Arabia and the region,” said Jabeur in a statement.

“Just as I’ve strived to push boundaries in my tennis career, Kayanee is breaking barriers in the realm of female fitness. Together, we share a commitment in promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Jabeur, who recently landed at No 18 on Forbes’ list of highest-earning female athletes for 2023, parted ways with Naomi Osaka and Stuart Duguid’s talent agency, Evolve, at the end of last year and is now solely represented by Tunisian agent Adel Aref.

“Now is the right moment for Ons to advance to the next level. Our efforts have been dedicated to establishing the Ons brand platform, and selecting the right partners is crucial at this stage,” Aref told The National.

“Kayanee emerges as the perfect partner, aligning seamlessly with our vision and strategy. Ons is very happy to be wearing Kayanee both on and off the court, appreciating the meticulous attention they devote to ensuring her comfort and allowing her to be true to herself.”

Aref revealed that the deal includes both on-court and off-court apparel and “our current focus involves the development of a distinctive tennis shoe specifically for Ons. Consequently, she will be donning a different shoe exclusively for the Australian Open”.

He believes Saudi Arabia’s venture into the professional tennis apparel market “marks a significant stride for the region, as we solidify our presence as a notable voice in the industry. As I consistently emphasise, we are stronger together, our collective strength is formidable, and now is the moment for all of us to collaborate and aim higher”.

Jabeur will debut her exclusive Kayanee kit on court at the Australian Open this month, and has already been pictured donning her new threads in practice at Melbourne Park.

The three-time grand slam finalist will be seeded No 6 at the opening major of the season, and has chosen not to contest any tune-up tournaments ahead of the Australian Open.

Having been forced to miss the Middle East swing last year due to surgery, the 29-year-old Jabeur has committed to competing in all three WTA events in the Gulf next month, starting with the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open before heading to Doha then Dubai.

From a business perspective, Aref says there are “many exciting projects in the pipeline”.

“The ones I can tell you about for now are the recent launch of the documentary ‘This is Me’ on Tod, which has garnered significant attention, as we are revealing a lot of Ons,” he added.

“Additionally, the Ons Jabeur Foundation is set to be launched later this month.”

Updated: January 10, 2024, 10:33 AM