Why tennis should be very wary of the Saudi Arabia PIF

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

When things become all about money, quality suffers. And the Saudi Arabia PIF wants to buy up sports so it can make a lot of money. We already saw about the PIF (Public Investment Fund) turned golf into a civil war all because some players wanted a cash grab and other players didn’t.

I’d like to think tennis is different but the people that run the ATP, specifically, usually just think about themselves and aren’t in it for the betterment of the sport. If that were so, we’d already have seen a merger between the WTA (the organization that controls women’s tennis) and the ATP (the organization that runs men’s tennis). A merger of the ATP and WTA would be better for fans everywhere.

But the Saudi Arabia PIF is just trying to find ways to make money. That’s what investment funds are supposed to do. A fund puts in money and in return, it hopes to make more back. The Saudi Arabia PIF wants to make money off tennis just as it ended up doing with golf.

Tennis fans should be wary of any Saudi Arabia PIF influence

And let’s be honest, the Saudi Arabia PIF destroyed golf as we know it. Before players bought into the premise that the PGA (the org that did support men’s professional golfers) was meant to help them and help the players be more lucrative. Then the Saudi Arabia PIF eventually got involved and offered players a ton of money to join the golf organization (LIV) the fund had set up, and players jumped ship.

Will the same happen in tennis? Very possibly. The difference between tennis and golf, obviously, is that players literally go one-on-one in tennis, and in golf, they are just out there on their own and hoping to beat whoever else is near them on the scoreboard. It’s very conceivable that the Saudi Arabia PIF offers players like Nick Kyrgios and Carlos Alcaraz a lot of money to join them, and then other current ATP players refuse and we have a division in tennis.

Want to see Carlos Alcaraz play Novak Djokovic head-to-head? That might not happen once the PIF fully gets involved. Alcaraz has already said he had “no doubts” he would play in Saudi Arabia one day. Who cares about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record? I mean, people can make a lot of money from the Saudis being involved so that must be a good thing, right?

Next. Ranking the five best players on the ATP tour in the Open era. dark

Or as Nick Kyrgios recently tweeted, “Finally. They see the value. We are going to get paid what we deserve to get paid. Sign me up.” Good for you, Nick. You might get yours while others suffer. That’s the way of the world now.