Rafael Nadal's Saudi Saga: A Story of Values over Money

Rafael Nadal is the ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation

by Jovica Ilic
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Rafael Nadal's Saudi Saga: A Story of Values over Money
© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

A couple of weeks ago, a 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal embraced a new role, becoming the ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation. As was expected, many questions have been raised since, and Nadal is not particularly interested in defending his decision.

Rafa admitted he gets the money from Saudi Arabia while reminding he does not need it, as it will not change his life. Nadal is focused on promoting tennis in Saudi Arabia, highlighting their progress in every area. Rafa is a pivotal figure in Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 initiative to encourage increased participation in tennis and other sports among boys and girls.

Rafael Nadal, Brisbane 2024© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The Spaniard will open his tennis complex in Saudi Arabia and visit the country at least once a year to follow the development and oversee a junior tennis clinic.

The upcoming stars will use the new facilities and work with high-profile coaches, carving their paths toward college tennis or the professional circuit. Furthermore, Nadal and his coaches from Mallorca will impart their knowledge and inspiration to Saudi teams associated with the Olympic & Paralympic Committees, contributing to the overall growth of the sport in this country.

Rafael Nadal is the ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation.

Saudi Arabia has dedicated substantial efforts to encouraging its youth to embrace athletic objectives. It's apparent in programs like Tennis For All, which introduced tennis to 30,000 schoolchildren in 2023.

With the sport incorporated into the curriculum of 200 schools in 2024, the aim is to expand this number to 400 by the following year. The number of tennis clubs and registered young players is growing, correlated with developing national tournaments across various age categories.

Saudi Arabia went beyond tennis, opening its doors to various sporting events, including football, motorsports, equestrian, esports and golf.

Rafael Nadal, Brisbane 2024© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals marked a historic moment as the inaugural professional tennis event in the country, and the event will remain in Saudi Arabia in the upcoming years.

With Nadal's involvement, the expectations are high for the continued evolution of tennis in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is poised for an exciting chapter in its sporting journey, seeking the 2024 edition of the WTA Finals and preparing for the Six Kings Slam and many more.

Despite doubters, Nadal's ambassadorship heralds a promising era for tennis enthusiasts in Saudi Arabia, and the sport development in this country will only get more significant and extended. "Saudi Arabia pays me, but I do not need that money; it will not change my life.

I have not signed a super contract like other athletes, and I'm fine with that. I'm committed to promoting tennis in Saudi Arabia, and that's my goal. I have done it because I am excited about the future. They do not need me to wash their image about themselves; it's not objective," Rafael Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal
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