Incredible cash sums going to Novak Djokovic and star names in ‘Saudi Slam’ revealed
Six of the world’s top players have sent shockwaves through tennis after signing up to play in a ‘Saudi Slam’ event in October – and now more details of the tournament have been revealed.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune have signed up to play in a big event in Saudi Arabia in October, with the huge cash sums being paid to each player now the topic of huge speculation.
Suadi sporting chiefs have made no secret of their desire to get a foothold in tennis and there is no better way to do that than by signing up six of the biggest stars in the game to play in what is certain to be an event that captures huge interest around the world.
The ‘6 Kings Slam’ will be hyped as the fifth Grand Slam event of the tennis year, yet the reality is this tournament is more akin to the ATP Finals that are staged each November and contested by the top eight players in the world.
The prize money on offer for that event in Turin is huge and the same will be the case in this new exhibition event in Riyadh, with reports suggesting each player taking part will be paid £1.2million appearance fee, with the tournament winner set to pocket a stunning £4.8million.
If those figures are accurate, this will be the most lucrative tournament of the year by some distance, with Alacraz taking home £2.35million from his Wimbledon win last summer.
The Telegraph are reporting that the players taking part in the 6 Kings Slam were in danger of breaching the rules of their agreement to play on the ATP Tour, which states they will breach agreements if they play in exhibition events that run for more than two days.
The report claims Saudi chiefs will navigate around that by ensuring the tournament only runs for two days and then concludes after a suitable break.
What is clear is Saudi sporting chiefs are keen to have more influence in tennis, with the announcement of this tournament evidence that they have the game’s top players on board with their plans.
There has been plenty of talk of a breakaway tour being backed by Saudi money, but that doesn’t appear to be on the agenda at this moment as there appears to be a desire to work with the tennis authorities to influence the sport within the current set-up.
Yet ATP Tour and WTA Tour chiefs will look at their success in signing up six huge names to play in this event as evidence of what could happen unless they agree to allow the Saudi sporting machine to have some influence in tennis.
Golf has been hugely disrupted by the LIV Golf breakaway tour and the Saudi Pro League has signed some of the highest-profile footballers in the world over the last 18 months.
Now tennis appears to be in their sights and while the prospect of major events like Wimbledon being affected by Saudi influence appears to be unlikely for now, similar assumptions would have been made about golf not so long ago.
The WTA are expected to sign a deal to take their end-of-season WTA Finals to Saudi Arabia from this year and there is an expectation that more exhibition events featuring the biggest names in tennis will be confirmed in the coming months in Riyadh.
When the Saudi authorities set their sights on a new goal, they tend to get what they want in the end and tennis appears to be edging to a position that will see them edge towards a closer relationship with the Arab state.
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