ATP Chairman addresses future plans with Saudi Arabia & 'unsafe place' claims

Saudi Arabia hosted an official tennis tournament for the first time when Jeddah hosted the Next Gen ATP Finals.

by Dzevad Mesic
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ATP Chairman addresses future plans with Saudi Arabia & 'unsafe place' claims
© Getty Images Sport - Alexander Hassenstein

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi reveals he has received "very good feedback" from the players and his people regarding the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah and confirmed the men's tennis association "wants to work with the Saudis." In late November and early December, Saudi Arabia hosted an official tennis tournament for the first time ever.

In Jeddah, Hamad Medjedovic won the Next Gen ATP Finals, a tournament where top 21-and-under rising stars competed. Throughout the year, some have been opposed to staging tournaments in Saudi Arabia, with some claiming it's an unsafe place.

But according to Gaudenzi, the players and his people didn't have a single negative word to say about Jeddah as the host. “I think I've heard very, very good feedback, both from the players and from my team, in terms of execution, the infrastructure here is impressive," Gaudenzi told The National.

Gaudenzi on the possibility of Saudi Arabia getting more tournaments

Throughout the 2023 season, there were reports about the ATP and WTA having an interest in potentially bringing tournaments to Saudi Arabia. In recent months, there were reports claiming that Saudi Arabia could even get a Masters tournament in 2025.

For now, only Jeddah has been granted the right to stage the Next ATP Finals through 2027. But judging by Gaudenzi's words, Saudi Arabia will likely get rights to stage more tournaments. “We are exploring a number of different opportunities.

And we are here obviously, so we want to work with Saudi. I think we had very good relations the last couple of years, very interesting discussions. They have expressed the willingness and the desire to do more in sport and in tennis.

I think the biggest challenge on our side is the calendar. In all honesty, it's very tight, it's very jammed. But the desire for us to actually be here and be in the region, because we value the Middle East a lot, is there. I think we're going to have to work it out together in phases or we're looking at all opportunities.

We don't have the solutions at the moment, but we're definitely going to keep discussing with all the parties," Gaudenzi said.

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