- World No 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic will be there
- It will be the second time he is playing in Australia
- Saudi is paying them a lot of money to play here
Six of the most popular names in ATP Tour will play at a tennis tournament in Saudi Arabia infamously dubbed the 6 Kings Slam.
World No 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune and Rafael Nadal will play in Saudi’s capital, Riyadh.
Their participation will, without a doubt, raise eyebrows among tennis fans who are opposed to the Arab nation joining the men’s tennis circuit.
The Six Kings Slam Tennis Tournament in Saudi Arabia
Participation by the crème-de-la-crème of men’s tennis in the Riyadh tennis tournament is a bold statement by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). PIF is restating its stand of doing everything possible to get a share in the ATP Tour.
Alcaraz and Djokovic participated in an exhibition match in Riyadh in December 2023, receiving substantial compensation for their appearance in front of a large audience.
Now, Djokovic and Alcaraz are set to revive memories of their rivalry at the tennis tournament in Saudi Arabia this year.
Djokovic said: “I am excited to return to Riyadh and play in front of all my Saudi fans.”
Nadal who is Saudi Tennis Federation (STF) ambassador expressed his enthusiasm for returning to Riyadh, stating that he is eager to impress his Saudi fans.
“I am very excited to compete in Riyadh for the first time, following in the footsteps of other tennis players who have done so,” he stated.
Alcaraz is looking at an opportunity to expand his fanbase beyond the US and Europe where he is commanding a huge support base.
He is also looking at an opportunity to showcase how good his game is. And just like Alcaraz and Djokovic who have played in Saudi, Medvedev is anxiously waiting for another chance to play here again.
“Ever since my first trip in 2019, I have been back several times and really looking forward to being part of this new event. The best players in the world all in one place is exciting. I cannot wait to see everyone out there.”
Is Saudi Arabia Paying Tennis Players Well?
The substantial financial incentives offered to the six players participating in the ‘6 Kings Slam’ likely is deeply enticing. STF has not issued a statement on how much it will pay the six players but sources say it is an irresistible amount.
This has sparked discussions about the intentions of Saudi authorities to expand their influence within tennis. It further fuels speculation about a potential breakaway tour backed by Saudi officials.
The 6 King Slam tennis tournament in Saudi Arabia is a calculated move of their sway over the sport’s elite players.
On the other hand, Nadal’s involvement in the tournament dispels any notions of retirement, particularly with the French Open approaching. As a 22-time Grand Slam champion, it’s unsurprising that Nadal is part of the 6 Kings Slam.
He is currently enjoying his status as a tennis ambassador for Saudi Arabia and he is proud of the progress he has made so far.
“Everywhere you look in Saudi Arabia, you can see growth and progress and I’m excited to be part of that. I continue to play tennis as I love the game. But beyond playing I want to help the sport grow far and wide across the world and in Saudi there is real potential,” he said.
Nadal says being an STF ambassador is giving hope to the younger generation of better days in the sport.
He explained that Saudi Arabia is passionate about growing the sport while also inculcating positive values among players.
“The kids here today are looking to the future and have a real passion for all sports. If I can help them pick up a racquet or simply get fit and enjoy the benefits of healthy living, then I’ll be happy to have made a difference.”