Saudi Arabia to sponsor WTA women's tennis rankings under new partnership

Deal with PIF will see first ever naming partner of official women's rankings

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has announced a new partnership with the WTA. AP
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Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the WTA have announced a multi-year partnership as the kingdom continues its expansion into the world of professional tennis.

In a similar deal that was unveiled with the men's tour (ATP) in February, PIF will also now become the first ever naming partner of the WTA Rankings.

The new partnership between the WTA and PIF follows the April announcement that Riyadh would play host to the next three season-ending WTA Finals, offering record prize money of $15.25 million.

In January, three-time Grand Slam finalist Ons Jabeur signed a new sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabia's PIF-owned fitness and wellness brand Kayanee and has made clear her determination to help expand the sport in the kingdom.

The ATP Tour has moved its Next Gen Finals for leading 21-and-under players to Jeddah in November, while 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has become an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation.

Nadal will join 24-time major champion Novak Djokovic and rising stars Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner at an October exhibition event in Riyadh.

“We are delighted to welcome PIF as a Global Partner of the WTA and our first-ever official naming partner of the WTA Rankings,” said Marina Storti, chief executive of WTA Ventures, said in a press release.

“Together, we look forward to sharing the journey of our talented players across the season, as we continue to grow the sport, creating more fans of tennis and inspiring more young people to take up the game.”

Mohamed Al Sayyad, head of corporate brand at PIF, said in the same release: “Through our partnership with WTA, PIF will continue to be a catalyst for the growth of women’s sport. We look forward to working with the WTA to increase participation and inspire the next generation of talent.

“Underpinned by PIF’s four strategic sponsorship pillars, this partnership aligns with our ambition to elevate the game and bring positive growth to the sport around the world.”

The kingdom's involvement in the world of sport continues to gather pace with tennis following hot-on-the-heels of major investment in the likes of football, golf and boxing.

Saudi Arabia to host WTA Finals for next three years

Saudi Arabia to host WTA Finals for next three years

In football, the Saudi Pro League has been on an unprecedented transfer spree which has seen the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane all move to the kingdom.

PIF has also took control of four of the country’s most prominent clubs in Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Al Ittihad and Al Ahli. The fund also has a majority stake in English Premier League club Newcastle United.

In golf, a bitter stand-off was brought to a surprise end when the PGA Tour, European Tour and LIV Golf circuit announced a landmark agreement in an attempt to unify the sport that had been in turmoil due to the emergence of the Saudi-backed tour.

And only last weekend, Riyadh played host to the much-anticipated heavyweight boxing title-fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury that saw the Ukrainian become the first undisputed champion of the world at that weight since 1999.

Updated: May 20, 2024, 7:05 PM